Chennai: The Southern Railway has urged commuters to ‘refrain from footboard travel’. Cooperate with Railways in ensuring safety of train operations and be generally vigilant and alert while travelling on the fast locals, a press release said.
The statement comes a day before the relaunch of fast local trains between Chennai Beach-Tambaram-Chengalpattu-Tirumalpur after a gap of nearly 11 months.
Last year, on 24 June rail commuters hanging on the footboard of a crowded Chennai Beach-Thirumalpur suburban train were hit by a concrete fence between platforms three and four at the St Thomas Mount Railway Station. Five passengers fell on the track and were killed while four others got injured, forcing railway authorities to cancel the Chennai Beach-Chengalpattu trains. Ever since its cancellation, thousands of railway passengers have been forced to use alternative means of transport.
The press release said, before the re-introduction of fast locals, safety parameters across the main lines of Chennai Beach – Tambaram section and at St Thomas Mount were reviewed and enhanced. The tracks at platform four at St Thomas Mount Station were realigned thereby increasing the distance between the track and concrete fence as additional safety.
It also urged commuters not to stand near the doorway with backpack bags that can get caught in the passing. It may be recalled that one of the passengers’ backpack bag reportedly hit an electric pole during the accident causing a few passengers to lose their balance and they fell on the track last year.
According to the Southern Railway, during 2018-19, a total of 11,482 footboard travellers were apprehended, prosecuted and fined under Section 156 of Railways Act, 1989. A fine of Rs 35.31 lakh was collected from the defaulters.
The release said Railway officials continue to take intensive drives through “station announcements, posters, pamphlets and counselling for public.”