Priority for goods train irks public at Chennai Central

Southern Railway's love for goods train irks passenger at Chennai Central.
Chennai: Southern railway’s (SR’s) priorities seem misplaced. It appears to attach more importance to freight handling than optimising the quality of passenger service.
At least a few thousand travellers commuting bet­ween Chennai Central and Gummidipoondi painfully endure a long wait aboard EMUs midway between stations as the operation department allows goods trains, instead of EMUs, to pass even during peak hours.
Revealing this official apathy were loco pilots who are already facing punctuality pressure after the reduction of loop line speed on the stretch. They have become the first to face public anger due to the long wait.
Twice in a month now, travellers on the route have vented their anger on mot­ormen. As if the rail roko at Ponneri a fortnight ago was not sufficient, passengers pelted stones at the driver’s cabin in Tiruvottiyur early this week, protesting a 40-minute delay.
The EMU took one hour to reach Tiruvottiyur from MMC (Moore market complex) instead of the stipulated 20 minutes. Loco pilots say, “Passengers suspect that we keep them waiting midway between two stations. They do not understand that the operation department has not cleared the signal for us to move the EMU.”
Some loco pilots even concede that they, as much as passengers, are victims of officials’ misplaced priorities.
The EMU would not have reached late by 40 minutes on Tuesday if only they (officials) had not sent a goods train ahead of the EMU, loco pilots revealed.
“When a goods train is allowed to move before an EMU during peak hours, the EMU motorman is forced to wait till the goods trains crosses, particularly near stations and intersections, resulting in inordinate delay,” a motorman reasoned, admitting that most motormen on duty work under extreme pressure, which could jeopardise passenger safety at times.
The suburban trains on the route will continue to run late unless they inc­rease the loop line speed and stop clearing goods trains ahead of EMUs during peak hours, loco pilots argued.
( Source : dc )
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