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Monday, May 27, 2002

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When the postman knocked

READER M. R. Sethuraman of Vyasarpadi contends that the first railway line in the South (Miscellany, April 29) was laid between Vyasarpadi and Wallajah Road (Arcot). And he is right. When the first sod was cut in 1853, it was for this 66-mile line.

But it was later decided to make Royapuram, nearer the Harbour and Customs House, the main terminus. So not only was the work delayed — the line being opened only in 1856 instead of 1854 — but the first line then ran from Royapuram to Arcot via Vyasarpadi.

Though Vyasarpadi had the distinction of being the starting point of the railway in the South, Reader Sethuraman goes on to say, it had to wait 100 years to get a ``pucca railway station''. This was built around 1990 on B & C Mills Land. Then it had to wait another year to get a name. Apparently some wanted the station called Vyasarpadi and others wanted it named Jeevanandam. It was eventually called Vyasarpadi Jeeva. ``During the year-long dispute, the station had no name, though trains stopped there and tickets were sold — without mentioning the name of the station!'' adds my correspondent.

The way the Railways goes about naming railway stations truly mystifies me at times. Take for instance what you, I and everyone else, including the Government and that official arbiter, the Survey of India, call Mylapore.

To the metro it is `Tirumailai' station. I wonder why — and how such arbitrary decisions can be made.

S. MUTHIAH

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