In wake of the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) giving green signal to increase the speed limit of trains on Chennai-Madurai stretch from 100 to 110 kmph, the travel time between these two cities will be cut by 25 minutes.
The CRS gave the nod two years after the doubling-cum-electrification work was completed on this route. The train will operate at 110 kmph on the 495-km Chennai- Madurai stretch connecting Chengalpattu, Villipuram, Ariyalur, Tiruchy, and Dindigul.
The Railways officials said that the project would be completed once the lockdown restrictions were lifted, though no deadline had been fixed. K A Manoharan, CRS Southern Circle, made it clear that the nod comes with the rider that the railways put in place certain safety measures before increasing the speed limit of trains.
The CRS, which comes under the Ministry of Civil Aviation, in an official handout, has directed the railways to inform the date of increasing the speed of trains after complying with the requisite directions.
Presently, the fastest train that is operating in this section is the Chennai-Madurai Tejas Express, which covers the 495-km stretch in 6 hours and 30 minutes. The train has halted at Tiruchy and Kodai Road stations. But the flagship train services such as Pandiyan, Nellai, and Pearl City Express take 7 hours and 50 minutes to 8 hours 20 minutes to cover the same distance.
The doubling work between Chennai and Madurai was completed after a long delay in February 2018. The 25-km track between Thamaraipadi and Kalpathi Chathiram connecting Tiruchy and Dindigul was the last stretch that underwent doubling work.
Currently, 14 daily express trains and 17 weekly passenger trains are running between Chennai and Madurai. The Railways, in the past two years, had undertaken measures to reinforce the rail track in this section.
However, the railway officials clarified that the move was not related to the proposal to operate private trains.