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
The public announcement system, which is mandatory at all railway stations, is inoperative. “No announcements are made before trains arrive. We have to keep an eye on the changing signals to know the arrival of trains. Even if we ask the station in-charge to make an announcement, they say announcements won’t be made as there is no station master,” said Sivagami K, a resident of Gummidipoondi.
“Apart from this, we have to wait for the train for more than an hour and sometimes even two. The trains from Gummidipoondi to Chennai Central arrives every 10 to 20 minutes and returns to Gummidipoondi every 40 minutes to one hour. But sometimes, passengers traveling to Sulurpet have to wait for at least two hours,” she added.
The station does not have garbage bins within its premises, forcing the public to litter everywhere and it attracts dogs. The public said that dogs are not vaccinated they are scared to use the facility, especially after dark. They also pointed out that there is no digital clock in the station.
The construction of toilets for men and women has been completed but, like most other stations along the stretch, they are locked through the day. If the passengers need to use the washroom, they should ask the station authorities to unlock the toilet.
Though there are Railway Police Force (RPF) personnel posted at the station, they do not visit the station often. There is no safety for the public, especially women, during night. “Earlier, the police used to come to the station once a week. Once, that stopped, crime rate has also increased. There have been several incidents of drunk men disturbing women’s safety at the station. RPF personnel visits the facility only when the station in-charge complains of any incidents to the higher authorities. RPF personnel should be present at the facility to ensure our safety at least after 6 PM,” said Veeramani P, a passenger.
Differently abled passengers complained that travelling has become difficult for them as the station is not disabled friendly. They struggle to enter the premises using stairs to reach the platform. Besides, passengers must walk for at least two kilometres to reach the nearby bus stop or autorickshaw stand.
“There is no bus stop or autorickshaw stand nearby. I often ask someone from home to pick me up to avoid walking. While going to the station, it is difficult to find an auto driver who is ready to come as the road leading to the facility is battered,” said Lakshmipriya E, another passenger.
Speaking to DT Next, the station in-charge said, “Announcements are not made as there is no station master here. I am the only person at the ticket counter. It is difficult to make the announcement. RPF personnel visit only when there is any complaint is made.”