Cuddalore neglected by Southern Railways
This article has been contributed to Cuddalore Online by Ramkumar.
Cuddalore as in other fronts, stands ignored in Railway Front too.Luck never seems to favour Cuddalore, in spite of it being a district headquarters. The main cause for Cuddalore's this plight is the lack of political backing for Cuddalore. There are no people to voice for Cuddalore.
The full CUPJ (Cuddalore Port Junction)-VRI (Vridhachalam) Broad Gauge section was thrown open to traffic in Dec. 2003. Only one service to Trichy plying in this section is of much use to the public. Even the other Cuddalore-Vridhachalam passenger is not of much use, as it provides connection only to a nearby town of Vridhachalam, which is at a short distance from Cuddalore.
Four Budgets in 2004,2005, 2006 and 2007 have passed and not even a single addition to the number of services which were introduced when the section was initially thrown open to traffic in Dec. 2003. Very Pathetic.
In contrast, SR is paying attention to every other section converted to BG. But it is this section, which needs SR's attention, focus and concentration badly. A comparison of this section with all the other converted sections will reveal the true picture and also how this section has been totally ignored by SR. Also how Cuddalore has been badly let down by Southern Railway.
TJ (Thanjavur)-KMU (Kumbakonam) section was commissioned in early 2004 in connection with Mahamaham. The initial pattern of services were,
1 Pair of KMU-TEN Passengers and 1 Pair of KMU-TPJ passengers
In 2004-2005 TT TJ-MS Rockfort was extended to KMU
In 2005-2006 TT, TJ-CBE Jan Shatabdi was extended to KMU and so also TJ-MYS to KMU
When the KMU (Kumbakonam)-MV (Mayiladuthurai) section was converted to BG, KMU-TPJ,KMU- TEN passengers and MYS-KMU were extended to MV.
Also a new MV-TPJ passenger starting from MV in the morning and returning to MV in the night was introduced.
Now in 2007-2008, one more MV-TPJ express has been introduced.
TJ (Thanjavur)-TVR (Tiruvarur) section
This section was commissioned in the second half of 2006. Initial services were 2 Pairs of TVR-TPJ passengers and one pair of TJ-TVR passengers.
In the 2007-2008 TT, one more TVR-TPJ passenger has been introduced.
VPT (Virudhunagar)-TSI (Tenkasi) section
In 2004-2005 there was one pair of MDU-TSI passenger and also a weekly MS-TSI Podhigai Super Fast Express. In 2006-2007, one more pair of MDU-TSI passenger was introduced. Now in 2007-2008, one more special MDU-TSI passenger has been introduced and also Podhigai is now running daily.
Pondicherry- Villupuram section
This section was commissioned in the first half of 2004. Initial services were 1 pair of PDY-MS Fast Passenger and PDY-TPTY passenger. In 2005-2006, 2 to 3 coaches to/from Pondicherry were moved to/from Chennai by Pearl City/Ananthapuri In 2006-2007, Pondicherry- Bhuvaneshwar weekly Super Fast train as well as PDY-MS five-day-a-week express train were introduced.
In contrast, if we take the Cuddalore-Vridhachalam section, the count of services at the time this section was commissioned remains the same even now, that is after 4 years. Not even a single addition. SR is going out of the way to operate services to/from Pondicherry. For two coaches, the attaching/detaching operation is happening at Villupuram on two days to provide a link between Pondy and Chennai. This is in addition to the daily PDY-MS Fast Passenger and Five-Day-a-week express services between Pondy and Chennai. SR is able to find even new timings in the congested MS-VM section to accommodate new trains for Pondicherry, which gesture or act of SR is not to be seen in the case of trains to other places.
Again the patronage in the Pondicherry- Villupuram section for all these three services between Pondy and Chennai are very poor, defeating the very purpose of operating these direct services to Chennai from Pondicherry. There does not seem to be any justification in offering more services to Pondy when the patronage offered/observed is poor and far from satisfactory.
On the other hand, there are sections like the Cuddalore-Vridhacha lam section, where there is a huge demand for train services, but SR does not seem to concerntrate on running more trains in this section. The rakes of these commercially unviable services,like in the PDY (Pondy)-VM (Villupuram) section, can very well be diverted and utilised to run more services in sections, where there is a huge demand for train/rail services like the Cuddalore-Vridhachalam section.
The Cuddalore-Trichy passenger is highly patronised by the people of the Cuddalore-Vridhacha lam section (Excluding Vridhachalam). Even an additional pair of service is very much required. But SR does not seem to take note of all these.
In the first leg of conversion of Cuddalore-Vridhachalam portion of the Cuddalore-Salem section, yes, the Cuddalore-Vridhachalam section has been totally ignored by SR and Trichy division. Now that the remaining portion of Vridhachalam-Salem also has been converted, SR should pay some attention to Cuddalore at least now.
Atleast, in the second leg, let Cuddalore get some justice and attention. SR should introduce direct trains to Bangalore and Coimbatore from Cuddalore via Vridhachalam and Salem. These services would be of high use to the people in places like Cuddalore, Kurunjipaadi, Vadalur and Neyveli coming under the Cuddalore-Vridhachalam section.
When SR is introducing new express services over short distances like the recently introduced Mayiladuthurai- Tiruchchirappall i express, it is but natural for the Cuddaloreans to get an opinion that theirs is the only place which is being treated badly and ignored totally by SR and Tiruchirappalli division.
When SR is running two coaches between Pondy and Chennai and an attaching/detaching operating happening for this at Villupuram, people tend to get an opinion that SR is only not able to do anything to Cuddalore, whereas it is doing and able to do something or the other, with respect to the other places.
The above mentioned places have a sound political backing that keeps things moving for them and in their favour, which backing unfortunately is not available for Cuddalore. Nobody to represent and voice Cuddalore's Cause to the Railways.
There is one group called South Arcot Railway Passengers'Association. Unfortunately, this group is also not voicing Cuddalore's cause and needs and also not getting things done for Cuddalore. This group is supposed to voice Cuddalore's needs to Railways. But unfortunately no.
Can this Cuddalore Online Group do something to effectively voice and represent Cuddalore's cause and needs to Railways, so that Cuddalore will get attention and consequently more train services for Cuddalore which would only be a big boon to the people of Cuddalore. After all, is not rail journey the most comfortable one when compared to bus journeys ? Hence more the train services from Cuddalore, more they will be useful for the people of Cuddalore to make a comfortable journey to different places.
This article as originally posted in CuddaloreOnline group.