On 24th July 2018, Train No 40701 from Chennai Beach to Tirumalpur while entering into Platform 4 of St Thomas Mount (STM) Station, 10 passengers travelling on footboard had fallen down from the train. Out of these 10 passengers, 5 passengers died and 5 passengers got injured. Apart from this major tragedy, there are cases of footboard travellers fallen down and injured from EMU trains running on fast line in Chennai Egmore to Tambaram Section.
Southern Railway had continuously campaigned to educate the commuters highlighting the dangers of footboard travelling. Apart from the educational campaigns and announcements, the footboard travellers were prosecuted under section 156 of Railway Act and fined. In 2016 & 2017, 7500 footboard travellers were apprehended and fined and in first quarter of 2018-19, 4000 footboard travellers have already been fined. Inspite of all out efforts to curtail the footboard travelling, the cases of fallen down from EMU trains on main Line in South BG section has not stopped and continue to endanger the life of co-passengers.
After the incident on 24th July 2018 to ensure the safety of passengers, it was decided to review all structures on fast lines between Chennai Egmore and Tambaram section keeping in view the footboard travelling and initiate the work to create additional safety margins, even beyond the mandatory requirement, to augment the safety of passengers. Therefore, the decision was taken to stop running of EMU trains on main lines in Chennai Egmore – Tambaram Section till the identification of requirements for additional safety margins and their resolution. As a result, 12 EMU trains which were hitherto running on the main line to cater to the needs of Chengalpattu/Tirumalpur/Kanchipuram commuters are diverted on the dedicated suburban lines.
These diverted fast EMU services will continue to run on suburban lines with revised timings to accommodate additional stoppages till the identified safety enhancement works are completed on main lines upto Tambaram.
Chennai Division hopes that commuters will understand the gravity of the situation and are requested to cooperate to ensure the safety of train operations. All out efforts are being made to run the suburban services in time to improve commuters’ satisfaction.