After cancelling Chennai Egmore-Madurai-Chennai Egmore Tejas Special from January 4 due to lack of patronage, Southern Railway has proposed to re-introduce the premium train from January 10.
Welcoming the move, Madurai MP Su. Venkatesan thanked Railway Minister Piyush Goyal for heeding people’s demand. Mr. Venkatesan had objected to the cancellation of the train claiming that unaffordably high fares and the pandemic situation were the major reasons for lower patronage.
A railway official here said after re-introduction following relaxation in lockdown norms the train saw poor patronage. “Though the passenger patronage increased from 15% during the initial days to 25% to 30%, the maximum occupation of seats was only 40% during weekends and holidays,” he added.
Officials in Madurai division too had asked for running the train expecting higher patronage during Pongal. On continuing the operation of Tejas Special train, the official said it depended on the patronage.
Meanwhile, the timing of the express train is said to be a major reason for the poor patronage. “The train leaves Egmore at 6 a.m. With no stoppage at Tambaram, passengers find it difficult to reach the station on time for the train,” said Dakshin Railway Employees’ Union divisional secretary R. Sankaranarayanan.
Stoppage at Tamabaram will also help passengers going to Chennai airport. Similarly, meeting the long-pending demand for shifting the stoppage from Kodaikanal Road to Dindigul railway station is also expected to bring more patronage.
The train is scheduled to depart Madurai junction at 3 p.m. and reach Chennai Egmore at 9.15 p.m. It stops at Kodai Road (3.28 p.m.) and Tiruchi (5 p.m.). It leaves Egmore at 6 a.m. and reaches Madurai at 12.15 pm. It stops at Tiruchi (9.55 a.m.) and Kodai Road (11.18 a.m.).