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Launched with fanfare, but languishing today

K. Lakshmi

Anna Nagar, Padi rail stations not patronised by commuters; the stations were inaugurated three years ago The counter collection is about Rs.450 per day on an average at Anna Nagar, with just about 50 passengers.



WALKERS' PARADISE: Residents near the Anna Nagar railway station using the platform for walking to keep themselves fit. — Photo: K. Pichumani

CHENNAI : Though they were launched with much fanfare, the Anna Nagar and Padi railway stations today wear a deserted look due to poor patronage from the travelling public.

The railway stations, inaugurated amidst high expectations three years ago, remain poorly used for various reasons. Residents of Anna Nagar cited the low number of takers for trains headed to Chennai Beach as one of the reasons.

In contrast to busy terminals, both these stations feature little activity with limited staff deputed to them.

The counter collection is about Rs.450 per day on an average at Anna Nagar, with just about 50 passengers. The monthly revenue has not exceeded Rs.15,000 since the service was introduced.

Residents said that they were no takers for the shop tenders floated recently in the stations because of the low passenger traffic.

R. Murali, a resident of Anna Nagar said that diversion of trains to Chennai Central railway station would have more takers as commuters from Anna Nagar and its neighbourhoods were mostly bound for Chennai Central.

This would ease the congestion in buses being operated from Anna Nagar to Central station, he added.

A visit to the Padi Railway Station revealed that it remained closed during afternoon due the gap in the train timings. At present, only five pairs of passenger train services are operated from these stations.

D. Maduravel, president of Thendral Colony Residents' Welfare Association, said the low frequency of train services and delay in reaching the connecting station at Villivakkam also put off commuters from using the stations.

While the first train departs from Anna Nagar at 7.05 a.m., the next train leaves from the station only at 12 p.m. At least two passenger service during peak hours would help increase the number of commuters, he added.

Meanwhile, the platform at Anna Nagar railway station is serving an unexpected purpose — it is a walkers' path for local residents during the morning and evening hours.

Railway officials pointed to the difficulty in decisions regarding diversion of trains. The possible traffic snarl at Padi junction due to frequent closure of the gate near Padi station would pose a major problem, they said.

The traffic is already chaotic at the junction with heavy vehicular movement and even the few trains towards Villivakkam take about 18 minutes to reach the station, a railway official said.

The number of services may be increased once the work for multi-level grade separator in the junction is completed, the official added.

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