Chennai: Shifting gears to the “green track”, the Southern Railway travelled further to implement energy efficiency programmes in its railway stations, besides completing solar panel works at Moore Market Complex, Tiruchy and Villupuram railway stations with power generation capacity of 10kw each, in the year gone by.
The Southern Railway management, in a move to hop on to the ‘Digital India’ bandwagon, brought eight stations into free WiFi coverage under the phase two of the project this year and work on other 25 railway stations are in progress. The year also passed off without any major incidents for the Southern Railway, though complaints of late arrival of trains poured in like every year.
Although the year had witnessed infrastructure works and digitalization works in full swing, incidents like the derailment of a local train at Avadi station and Rs 5 crore scam in procuring quad cables to the signal and telecom department unearthed by CBI marred the image of Southern Railway during the brink days of the year.
On November 11, the Southern Railway entered an agreement with Energy Efficiency Services Ltd for installing energy efficient LED lights, energy efficient Brushless Direct Current fans, and energy efficient air conditioners at 121 railway stations, to achieve energy conservation of 83.72 lakh units per year.
After eight long years, Southern Railway commissioned train services from Podanur (Coimbatore) to Pollachi on July 15. The train services on the route were suspended earlier to enable gauge conversion work in the stretch. Also, the Southern Railway has taken up gauge conversion works in Edamann – Ariyankavu, Karaikudi – Pattukottai, and Pattukottai – Tiruturaipoondi sections and the works are in progress.
Also, in a major boost to railway infrastructure in Tamil Nadu, Southern Railway secured approval for taking up long-pending doubling work for 160 km between Madurai and Tuticorin at a cost of Rs 1,275 crore. Approval was also given for doubling work from Vanchi Maniyachi to Nagarcoil (120 km) at Rs 1,115 crore and Kanyakumari to Thiruvananthapuram (86.56 km) at Rs 1,553 crore.
Works to convert entire Chennai – Madurai stretch into fully electrified double line track was taken up. Under the station redevelopment scheme, Chennai Central and Chennai Egmore stations are developed in the first phase and Madurai and Coimbatore in the second phase.
In a bid to save 40 per cent of water while cleaning pit lines and toilets, the zonal railway management has installed high-pressure jet cleaning systems at 51 platforms in various railway stations. Southern Railway also faced a change in administrative front as RK Kulshrestha took charge as its general manager on October 31.