The suburban trains, the arterial network of the city, are the preferred mode of transport for thousands every day. In this series, DT Next will visit all 60 stations for a spot assessment.
Tirusulam is the only suburb of Chennai which has a railway station, bus stop, airport, and Metro station, all situated within a kilometre’s radius. Thousands of commuters use the station, including air passengers. They said that the station is marred by a list of grievances, including fleecing of commuters.
According to railway sources, the footfall in the station is less compared to other stations. But many air passengers take the EMU to reach the airport on time. One of the main complaints raised by these commuters was that the restrooms remain closed most of the days. Although there is a separate restroom for physically challenged people, most of the commuters don’t know of its existence as there are no direction boards present. The restroom is only being used by the railway staff. Sources said that the staff, who are in charge of the restrooms, often collect Rs 30-50 from overseas and other State commuters.
Commuters feel that the station is unsafe after nightfall as there is no RPF personnel in the station. Even CCTV cameras have not been fixed yet.
Jancy, a regular commuter, said that it scares her to walk in the dark subway at night as there are not enough lights. “There is no relief even after reaching the station. Safety of a passenger is not guaranteed there, too. At least an RPF personnel should be present in the station during the nights,” she said.
Besides, the third and fourth platforms in the station are infested by anti-social elements. They consume alcohol there as trains don’t stop there. Lack of police presence emboldens them.
There are announcement speakers in the station but commuters said that they have never heard an announcement. “Even delay of trains or change in schedule is announced,” claimed another commuter.
The station has no parking area and as a result, commuters are forced to park their two-wheelers on the roadside. Commuters said that space is available in front of the station but the authorities do not allow them to park bikes there. The station does not even have digital clocks.
Also, the public who need to go to Tirusulam after alighting an EMU has to walk through the railway tracks as the subway connects the station to the airport and GST Road only. Several deaths have been reported there and sources said more than 10 people have died there in the past couple of years.
When contacted, railway officials in charge of Tirusulam railway station mostly agreed with the commuters’ complaints, especially the lack of facilities and security concerns at nights. “We have requested higher officials to develop the station but it’s getting delayed. Hopefully, the station will get all the facilities soon and make the commuters feel comfortable,” an official said.