Highly placed sources told TOI that Southern Railway is likely to start circular suburban train services connecting Arakkonam and Chengalpet in 10 days.
The proposal for running one 12-car EMU and one MEMU service on the route is lying with the general manager, the sources said. They declined to come on record as the model code of conduct is in place.
This has been made possible because the Southern Railway has completed linking the Arakkonam-Takkolam detour line to the Arakkonam-Jolarpet main line. A five-day long non-interlocking block was taken between April 11 and 15 when many mail and express and suburban trains were cancelled for the commissioning work.
However, circular suburban services cannot be announced in the railway timetable till the model code of conduct is in place, the sources said. “Hence, we will be running specials now. They will be regularised after the election results are out on May 23,” a source said.
Currently, suburban services on the southern line from Chennai Beach run up to Chengalpet and Tirumalpur. Though there is a further link to Arakkonam, the section is non-electrified due to objection from the naval base INS Rajali.
The ministry of defence contributed Rs 60 crore for a detour electrified line between Takkolam and Arakkonam, which was completed and commissioned recently.
The Railway Board has already approved SR’s proposal to run two circular suburban train services. The approval came two and a half hours before the model code of conduct came into play on March 10.
There are thousands of people who have to move between suburbs on the south-western line (Chennai-Tiruvallur-Arakkonam) and those on the south-broad gauge line (Chennai-Tambaram-Chengalpet). They are unable to do so and have to take the circuitous route through Chennai Beach or have to depend on buses or share autos.
Circular services which will directly link these two lines through the shorter Chengalpet-Arakkonam section will come as a boon. It will also lead to quicker development of the areas in Vellore and Kancheepuram districts linked by the new line, said officials.