Our Politicians are among the best when it comes to try to prove that they are working for the people. Railways has been among the frequently used tools to “appease” voters – promising new trains, and new railway lines.
One such is the proposed railway lines from Tindivanam – one towards Tiruvannamalai and another towards Nagari (in AP). Both had been announced to appease PMK founder Dr. Ramadoss and to show him as “savior” of Tindivanam.
Laying new lines is a very very tough job which starts with acquiring land, a tough job in itself, and then finally making the line viable. Ideally new lines must be laid in places that do not have rail connectivity (read no stations within 50KMs) or when the existing lines are clogged with heavy traffic (even in this case an additional line makes more sense).
In the case of Tindivanam to Tiruvannamalai – the idea is to provide a connectivity from Pondicherry to Bangalore. 1st phase of this is Tindivanam to Tiruvannamalai line, subsequently they will have to put Pondicherry to Tindivanam line and Tiruvannamalai to Samalpatti (on the Salem – Tiruppattur line).
Pondicherry is already connected to Tiruvannamalai by a line via Villupuram – Thirukoilur.
Now, it would be better if the focus is on bridging the gap – Tiruvannamalai to Samalpatti. If the Railways lay this ~72KM line they will automatically have a connect Bangalore & beyond to Pondicherry, the Main Line (Cuddalore, Chidambaram, Mayiladuthurai) and Nagapattinam Section (Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Velanganni, Nagore, Karaikal).
Providing this line will automatically help people in Tiruvannamalai, Villupuram & Cuddalore district to reach Bangalore which is a major destination for employment. State Transport Corporation runs 100s of buses from these places to Bangalore.
Instead of spending on the new line between Tindivanam – Tiruvannamalai & later Tindivanam – Pondicherry, Railways can utilise the existing under utilised sections Pondicherry – Villupuram – Tiruvannamalai.
|Length of new line required|
|Pondicherry to villupuram||38||KMs|
|Villupuram to Tiruvannamalai||67||KMs|
|New Line from Tiruvannamalai to Samalpatti||72||KMs||72|
|Samalpatti to Jolarpettai||31||KMs|
|Jolarpettai to Bangalore||145||KMs|
|PONDICHERRY TO BANGALORE – TOTAL||353||KMs||72|
|PONDICHERRY TO BANGALORE VIA SALEM – TOTAL||456||KMs|
Distance between Pondicherry & Bangalore is reduced by 100KMs and between Cuddalore & Bangalore by 50KMs.
By just laying 72 KM line, we get a new route that would benefit people in Coastal & Northern Tamil Nadu to connect to Bangalore & beyond.
Current Trains from Bangalore to these regions:
Mysore – Mayiladuthurai Express – runs via Bangalore, Hosur, Salem, Erode, Karur, Trichy, Thanjavur, Kumbakonam
Bangalore – Nagore Passenger – runs via Hosur, Salem, Attur, Virudhachalam, Cuddalore Port, Mayiladuthurai, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam (this is an extended Bangalore Salem passenger)
Yeswanthpur – Pondicherry Express – runs via Hosur, Salem, Attur, Virudhachalam, Villupuram
Definitely Railways will start more Trains to Velankanni & Nagore now that both places are on the broad gauge map, by just adding 72KMs of line instead of more than 180KMs, Railways will save funds and also easily provide faster connectivity.
New line between Pondicherry & Tiruvannamalai via Tindivanam will be of about 110KMs and will require major additional funds which can be put to better use.
Villupuram is hardly 37KMs from Tindivanam. The only other major town on the Tindivanam – Tiruvannamalai route – Gingee is also approachable from both Villupuram (~35KMs) & Tiruvannamalai (~35KMs).
Railways is not like Roads. The base line must be to provide long distance connectivity not for small distances (less than 200KMs).
Will Railways & Elected representatives consider the above points and refocus on bridging the gap – line between Tiruvannamalai & Samalpatti rather than connecting Tiruvannamalai to Tindivanam.
But in our country, people always focus on the unnecessary things. Hopefully it changes for the public benefit.
In the case of Tindivanam – Nagari line – even the then Railway minister that it does not make economical sense and faced much opposition before announcement. This line runs parallel to existing lines withing 50KM distance and may not be beneficial.
Funds for these are better spent on doubling tracks on Tindivanam – Chengalpattu – Kancheepuram – Arakkonam Route.
If Cheyyar requires a train connectivity – we can have a line from Chennai(Koyambedu) – Sriperambathur – Kancheepuram – Cheyyar – Arani Road which will provide an additional Route out of Chennai for South Bound Trains – The Current Chennai – Villupuram Line is almost jam packed and even after doubling, Railways will have tough time running new trains… More on this new route in the next post…