Southern Railway used the lockdown period to carry out track works which will allow trains to run at more than 100kmph on the Chennai-Gudur, Pattabhiram-Thiruninravur, Arakkonam-Renigunta, Minjur-Ponneri and a few other stretches.
But terminal station capacity needs to be increased to introduce more trains on these routes. Removing speed restrictions on the tracks will allow railways to accommodate more trains on a route. The limitations on tracks, presence of level crossings are some of the reasons for imposing speed restrictions for trains to minimise accidents. However, efforts were being taken to ensure these could be cleared, but high train traffic used to slow down efforts.
The shutdown period when trains were suspended since April was used to finish the pending work. Since tracks have been readied, when services resume in a full-fledged manner, trains will be able to maintain a uniform speed of 100kmph out of Chennai for most part of the route.
A significant difference in speed will be seen at Minjur-Ponneri stretch where the speed limit of 30kmph has been increased to 105kmph, which means that trains to the north especially the ones to Kolkata will not have to slow down at Minjur.
Similarly, the speed restriction of 60kmph on Pattabhiram-Thiruninravur stretch has been removed and trains will be allowed to touch 105kmph. In the Chennai-Gudur stretch, which is used by Chennai-Delhi Rajdhani Express, the speed has been increased from 105kmph to 110kmph. In addition to this the zone has completed deep screening, ultrasonic testing and ballast collection of tracks so that snags can be rectified.