Cancellation of trains due to the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in heavy loss in terms of passenger revenue. But, on the brighter side, the earnings through operation of goods trains have increased to Rs.71.56 crore this financial year against last year’s Rs 58.16 crore, recording a growth of 23.04 per cent.
At the 74th Independence Day celebration organized at the divisional office in Madurai on Saturday (15th August 2020), divisional railway manager (DRM) VR Lenin said that it is the highest ever goods earning during this period. The division loaded 0.58 million tonnes against 0.37 million tonnes last year and unloaded 0.92 million tonnes against 0.88 million tonnes last year.
Speed of goods trains that used to be much slower, as they had to give way to passenger trains during normal times, has increased. The average speed of goods trains up to July this year (2020-21) is 40.9 kmph against 24.4 kmph in 2019-20, thereby showing an improvement of 67.6 per cent, he said. The division has run 174 parcel and 112 special trains.
Lenin said that despite continuous freight operations during the lockdown, passenger revenue is under tremendous stress as passenger train services are cancelled. The DRM said that a total of 1.52 lakh passengers cancelled bookings during the pandemic and Rs 6.70 crore has been refunded till July. Operating 23 Shramik Special trains, the division transported 35,618 stranded migrant workers to their home states and made earning of Rs 3.23 crore.
The trains from Madurai, Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Virudhunagar, Dindigul and Ramanathapuram took labourers back to Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam. Lenin said that during the lockdown, several important works have been completed in the division taking advantage of the suspension of regular passenger rail service.
A portion of the second line between Madurai and Tuticorin and its electrification was commissioned for a stretch of 44 kms between Kadambur-Milavittan-Gangaikondan- Thattaparai by RVNL on July 15. Complete track renewal work was completed on the Tiruchchirappalli-Dindigul and Virudhunagar-Vanchimaniyachchi section for a length of 12.89km.
Yard remodelling work at Milavittan, for the connectivity of the Milavittan-Melmarudur new line as part of Madurai-Tuticorin via Aruppukottai new line, was commissioned. Earlier, the DRM hoisted the national flag and inspected the guard of honour presented by the Railway Protection Force.