CHENNAI: Two wagons and a brake van attached to a goods train, ferrying rice to a Food Corporation of India (FCI) godown in Kerala, derailed at Attipattu Pudu Nagar on the outskirts of the city, paralysing suburban services between Chennai and Gummidipoondi on Thursday. A few express trains had to be either diverted or cancelled. The derailment was reported in Attipattu, about 22 kilometres north of Chennai, at 1.30 am on Thursday morning. It forced the railway authorities to suspend all trains services including the Electric Multiple Unit (EMU), which is considered to be the lifeline for tens and thousands of commuters.
“Passengers, particularly office-goers used other modes of transport to reach the city,” claimed Anbu, a frequent traveller from Arambakkam, a village situated on the Tamil Nadu-Andhra Pradesh border.
“In the event of such unexpected cancellations, people even commute by trucks bound for Chennai. Cashing in on the opportunity, some travel agents operate vans, ferrying people to their destinations in and around the city,” he added.
The situation in the neighbourhood of Ponneri was similar with many switching over to Government buses, However, a few returned home following the unexpected cancellations.
According to sources in Ponneri, severe traffic jams were reported near the bus terminus in the small town, as hundreds of people trooped in to board buses.
Those who had to report to write examinations had a harrowing time, the sources added.
Moreover, two express trains, Chennai Central-Jammu Tawi Andaman Express and Bangalore-Guwahati Express were diverted via Gudur, Renigunta and Arakkonam. The Chennai Central-Howrah Coromandal Express was rescheduled to 14.00 hours due to late running of a pairing train. The Chennai Central-Vijayawada-Chennai Central Jan Shatabdi was cancelled.
When contacted, S Anantharaman, Divisional Railway Manager, Chennai Division, who was overseeing restoration work at Attipattu, said that EMU trains were operated from Chennai Central to Ennore in the morning.
“However, services on the Chennai-Gummidipoondi up line resumed at 8.25 am. With all restoration work completed by afternoon, the Gummidipoondi - Chennai section was also opened for traffic at 12.45 pm.”
When asked about the cause for derailment, Anantharaman replied that an inquiry has been ordered in this connection.