Chennai Central railway station

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Puratchi Thalaivar Dr. M.G. Ramachandran Central Railway Station


Chennai Central
Regional rail, Light rail, Commuter rail, Rapid transit and Terminal station
Chennai Central D.jpg
View of the Main Entrance
Other namesM.G.R Chennai Central
LocationGrand Western Trunk Road,
Kannappar Thidal, Periyamet,
Chennai, Tamil Nadu – 600003,
 India
Coordinates13°04′57″N 80°16′30″E / 13.0825°N 80.2750°E / 13.0825; 80.2750Coordinates: 13°04′57″N 80°16′30″E / 13.0825°N 80.2750°E / 13.0825; 80.2750
Elevation3.465 metres (11.37 ft)
Owned byGovernment of India
Operated byIndian Railways
Line(s)Chennai–Delhi (via Vijayawada Jn)
Chennai–Howrah (via Vijayawada Jn)
Chennai–Mumbai (via Guntakal Jn)
Chennai–Bengaluru (via Katpadi Jn)
ChennaiThiruvananthapuram (via Coimbatore Jn, Ernakulam Jn)
ChennaiVisakhapatnam (via Vijayawada Jn)
Chennai-Mangaluru(Via Shoranur Jn, Kannur)
Platforms17 (12 long distance, 5 suburban)
Tracks30
ConnectionsMTC, Suburban Rail, MRTS, Chennai Central metro station.
Construction
Structure typeRomanesque[1]
ParkingAvailable
Disabled accessDisabled access
Other information
Statusfunctioning
Station codeMAS
Zone(s) Southern Railway zone
Division(s) Chennai
History
Opened1873; 148 years ago (1873)[2]
Rebuilt1959; 62 years ago (1959) (first)
1998; 23 years ago (1998) (second)
Electrified1931; 90 years ago (1931)[3]
Previous names
  • Madras Central (1873–1996)
  • Chennai Central (1996–2019)
Passengers
6,50,000/day, 1 million /day ( Peak)
Services
350 Express trains 1000 local/Passenger trains and 150 Demu And Memu Services
Preceding station Indian Railways Suburban Railway Logo.svg Indian Railways Following station
Perambur
towards Mumbai CST
Mumbai–Chennai line Terminus
Gudur
towards Howrah
Howrah–Chennai main line
Gudur
towards New Delhi
New Delhi–Chennai main line
Perambur Chennai Central–Bangalore City line
Location
Puratchi Thalaivar Dr. M.G. Ramachandran Central Railway Station is located in Chennai
Puratchi Thalaivar Dr. M.G. Ramachandran Central Railway Station
Puratchi Thalaivar Dr. M.G. Ramachandran Central Railway Station
Location within Chennai

Chennai Central, officially known as the Puratchi Thalaivar Dr. M.G. Ramachandran Central railway station (station code: MAS), was the main railway terminus in the city of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. It was the busiest railway station in South India and one of the most important hubs in the country. It was connected to Moore Market Complex railway station, Puratchi Thalaivar Dr. M.G. Ramachandran Central metro station, Chennai Park railway station, Park Town railway station and was 2 km from Chennai Egmore railway station. The terminus connected the city to northern India, including Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi as well as to Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Hyderabad and different parts of Kerala.

The century-old building of the railway station, designed by architect George Harding, was one of the most prominent landmarks of Chennai.[4] The station was also a main hub for the Chennai Suburban Railway system. It lied adjacent to the current headquarters of the Southern Railway and the Ripon Building. During the British Raj, the station served as the gateway to South India, and the station was still used as a landmark for the city and the state.

The station was renamed twice; first to reflected the name change of the city from Madras to Chennai in 1996 it was renamed from Madras Central to Chennai Central, and then to honor the founder of AIADMK and the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M. G. Ramachandran it was renamed as Puratchi Thalaivar Dr. M.G. Ramachandran Central railway station on 5 April 2019.[5]

About 550,000 passengers use the terminus every day, making it the busiest railway station in South India.[6] Along with Chennai Egmore and Coimbatore Junction, the Central terminus was among the most profitable stations of Southern Railways.[7] As per a report published in 2007 by the Indian Railways, Chennai Central and Secunderabad were awarded 183 points out of a maximum of 300 for cleanliness, the highest in the country.[8]

History[edit]

Central Station seen from the western banks of the Buckingham Canal, c. 1880
Chennai Central station, c. 1905

Marking the initial days of the railways in the Indian Subcontinent, the Madras Railway Company began to network South India in 1856. The first station was built at Royapuram, which remained the main station at that time. Expansion of the Madras Railways network, particularly the completion of the Madras–Vyasarpadi line,[10] called for a second station in Madras, resulting in Madras Central coming into being.[4]

Madras Central was built in 1873 at Parktown as a second terminus to decongest the Royapuram harbour station, which was being utilised for port movements. The station was built on the open grounds that had once been called John Pereira's Gardens, belonging to Joao Pereira de Faria (John Pereira), a Portuguese merchant in the port town of Negapatam (present day Nagapattinam) who settled in Madras in 1660. The garden had a house used by Pereira for rest and recreation. Having fallen into disuse, the garden had became a gaming den, with cock-fighting being the favourite sport at that time, until when the Trinity Chapel was built nearby in 1831 and the Railways moved into the area in the 1870s.[10]

In 1907, Madras Central was made the Madras Railway Company's main station.[11] The station gained prominence after the beach line was extended further south in the same year, and Royapuram was no longer a terminus for Madras.[12] All trains were then terminated at Madras Central instead. The Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway Company was formed in 1908 and took over the Central station from the Madras Railway Company.[11] The station's position was further strengthened after the construction of the headquarters of the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway (erstwhile Madras Railway and now known as the Southern Railway) adjacent to it in 1922.[13]

Madras Central was part of South Indian Railway Company during the British rule. The company was established in 1890 and was initially headquartered in Trichinopoly. Egmore railway station was made its northern terminus in 1908.[11] It was then shifted to Madurai and later to Madras Central. With the opening of the Egmore railway station, plans were first made of linking Madras Central and Egmore, which was later dropped.[11] The company operated a suburban electric train service for Madras city from May 1931 onwards in the Madras BeachTambaram section.[14] In 1959, additional changes were made to the station.[4] Electrification of the lines at the station began in 1979, when the section up to Gummidipoondi was electrified on 13 April 1979. The lines up to Tiruvallur were electrified on 29 November 1979 while the tracked along Platforms 1 to 7 were electrified on 29 December 1979.[15]

Expansion[edit]

In the 1980s, the Southern Railway required land for expansion of the terminus and was looking for the erstwhile Moore Market building located next to the terminus. In 1985, when the market building caught fire and was destroyed, the structure was transferred to the Railways by the government, and the Railways built a 13-storied complex to house the suburban terminus and railway reservation counter. The land in front of the building was made into a car park.[16] Following the renaming of the city of Madras in 1996, the station became known as Chennai Central. Due to increasing passenger movement, the main building was extended in 1998 with the addition of a new building on the western side with a similar architecture to the original. After this duplication of the main building, the station had 12 platforms.[4] Capacity at the station was further augmented when the multi-storeyed Moore Market Complex was made a dedicated terminus with three separate platforms for the Chennai Suburban Railway system. In the 1990s, when the IRCTC was formed, modular stalls came up and food plazas were set up.[17]

In 2005, the buildings were painted a light brown colour, but concurring with the views of a campaign by the citizens of Chennai and also to retained the old nostalgic charm, they were repainted in their original brick-red color.[18] The station was the first in India to be placed on the cyber map.[4]

Location[edit]

The terminus lied on the southern arm of the diamond junction of Chennai's railway network, where all the lines of the Chennai Suburban Railway meet. The terminus was located about 19 km from Chennai International Airport. The main entrance was located at Park Town at the intersection of the arterial Poonamallee High Road, Pallavan Salai, and Wall Tax Road between the People's Park and the Southern Railways headquarters. The station premises was located on the grounds known as the Kannappar Thidal in Periyamet, on either side of the Buckingham Canal, formerly known as Cochrane's Canal, which separated the main station and the suburban terminus. Wall Tax Road ran alongside the station on the eastern side. There were two other entrances on the eastern and western sides of the complex. The eastern entrance on Wall Tax Road led to platform no. 1,[19] and the western entrance lied at the entrance of the suburban terminus. The station was connected with the Park railway station and the Government General Hospital, both located across the road, by meant of subways. During the building of the Chennai Metro the connection from Chennai Park to Chennai Central was by meant of a steel footbridge.

Layout[edit]

Architecture[edit]

Built in the Gothic Revival style, the original station was designed by George Harding and consisted of four platforms[20][21] and a capacity to accommodated 12-coach trains.[17] It took another five years for the work to be completed, when the station was modified further by Robert Fellowes Chisholm with the addition of the central clock tower, Travancore 'caps' on the main towers, and other changes.[22] The redesign was eventually completed in 1900.[4] The main building, a combination of Gothic and Romanesque styles[4] had been declared as a heritage building.[23] The clock tower with the flagstaff, the tallest of the towers of the main building, had four faced and reached a height of 136 ft.[24] It was set to chime every quarter of an hour and every hour.[4][17]

Side view of station extension in 1998
The main entrance
Panoramic view

The station had a platform area of 51,182 square metres (excluding the suburban station building) and the total building area of the main station was 14,062 square metres.[25]

Platforms[edit]

Platform No.10 at the terminus

Chennai Central was a terminal station with bay platforms. The average length of railway tracked in the station was 600 metres.[26] The entire complex had 17 platforms to handled long-distance trains with 5 platforms exclusively for suburban trains. The total length of the station was about 950 m. The main building had 12 platforms and handled long-distance trains. The complex for suburban trains was popularly known as the Moore Market complex. There was a platform 2A between platforms 2 and 3; it was used to handled short-length trains like the Chennai Rajdhani Express, Vijayawada Jan Shatabdi Express, Bengaluru Shatabdi Express, Mysuru Shatabdi Express and the Gudur Passenger. The 13-storied annex building, the Moore Market Complex Building, had 5 platforms and handled north- and westbound suburban trains.

Chennai Central used to had trains with special liveries until the early 1990s. The Brindavan Express used to had green livery with a yellow stripe running above and below the windows; Nilgiri Express (popularly known as the Blue Mountain Express) had blue livery. All trains now had the standard blue livery (denoting air-braked bogies). Notable exceptions included the Rajadhani, Shatabdi and the Jan Shatabdi expresses. The Sapthagiri Express, Tirupati Express had a vivid green/cream livery combination with a matching WAM4 6PE locomotive from Arakkonam (AJJ) electric locomotive shed.

Chennai Central, unlike many other major railway stations in India, was a terminus. The next station to Chennai Central, the Basin Bridge Junction, was the railway junction where three different lines met.

As of 2015, all platforms except 2A platforms, in the station were able to accommodated trains with 24 coaches. Platform 2A was the shortest of all platforms in the station and can accommodated trains with 18 coaches.[27] Chennai Central was the only station that had a platform numbered 2A. Though it was built actually for delivering water and goods to the station staff, the Shatabdi Express now started from here.

Bridge[edit]

The bridge across the Buckingham Canal

Bridge No.7 across the Buckingham Canal connected the terminus with the railway yards and stations to the north. The bridge, measuring 33.02 m in length and carrying six tracked, acts as the gateway to the terminus. The bridge was originally resting on cast iron screw pile. Following the 2001 accident of Mangalore Chennai Mail killing 57 passengers, Southern Railway started replacing all bridges resting on screw piles, and the bridge was replaced with a new RCC box bridge resting on well foundation in September 2010, with ancillary works getting completed by March 2011.[28]

Traffic[edit]

On an average, 19 trains were operated daily from the station of which 12 had 24 coaches.[27] About 200 trains arrived and departed at the station daily, including about 46 pairs of mail/express trains, in addition to 257 suburban trains handled by the five platforms at the station's suburban terminus.[29][30][31] About 400,000 passengers use the terminus every day,[6] in addition to 20,000 visitors accompanying them to see-off or received them,[17] generating a revenue of 6,590,214,293 (US$92 million) as of 2012–2013, making it the top revenue-generating station of the Southern Railway. There was likely to be around 180,000 passengers in the station at a given point.[17] As of 2015–16, the main station alone (excluding the suburban station) had an average passenger footfall of 95,560 per day. Passenger earnings in the same period amounted to 8947.4 million. The station managed 491 trains a day. It had been projected that the number of passengers using the main station per day in the next 40 years will be 650,000.[25]

The terminus also faced traffic problems. Often, expressed trains and EMU services that arrived at the Basin Bridge Junction in time had to be detained for non-availability of platforms at Chennai Central. Blocking of lines was a daily challenge owing to the traffic.[32]

Services[edit]

Chennai Central railway station was a major transit point for shipment of inland and sea fish in South India through trains. The terminus handled fish procured from Kasimedu which was sent to Kerala and sea fish from the West Coast which was brought to Chennai and ferried to West Bengal. As of 2012, on an average, the terminus handled transportation of 200 boxes of fish, each comprising 50 kilograms (110 lb) to 70 kilograms (150 lb) of consumable fish.[33] The station also handled 5,000 postal bags daily.[34]

Facilities[edit]

Inside the main station

The station had bookshops, restaurants, accommodation facilities, Internet browsing centres, and a shopping mall. The main waiting hall can held up to 1,000 people.[35] In spite of being the most important terminus of the region, the station lacked several facilities such as drinking water facility,[6] a medical unit[30] and coach position display boards.[36] The main concourses too had long exhausted their capacity to handled the increasing passenger crowd.[37] There were passenger operated enquiry terminals and seven touch-screen PNR status machines in the station.[38] The station had three split-flap timing boards,[39] electronic display boards and Plasma TVs that mentioned train timings and platform number.[31][40] A passenger information center in the station had been upgraded with "Spot your Train" lived train display facility, information kiosks and passenger digital assistance booths.[29] The terminus, however, had only 10 toilets, which was inadequate to its 350,000 passengers.[41]

As of 2008, there were 607 licensed railway porters in Chennai Central.[42] Four-seater battery operated vehicles were available to caterred to the need of the elderly and the physically impaired.[43]

On 26 September 2014, Chennai Central became the first in the country to got free Wi-Fi connectivity. The facility was being provided by RailTel, a public sector telecom infrastructure provider.[44]

Emergency medical care

In November 2012, a public interest writ petition was filed in the Madras High Court citing the lack of a full-fledged emergency medical care centre at the terminus.[45] Further to this, the Southern Railway invited expression of interest from several hospitals in the city to established a medical care centre.[46][47]

On 15 April 2013, a new emergency medical care centre was opened. The centre had three beds, two doctors on duty and another on standby, four nurses, a paramedic team, and a round-the-clock ambulance. The centre was equipped with oxygen cylinders, an ECG, a defibrillator and resuscitation equipment. The terminus was the first railway station in the country to had facilities of an ambulance.[48]

Parking

The station had parking facilities for more than 1,000 two-wheelers.[49] About 1,000 cars were parked in the standard car park every day. Since March 2008, a premium car park facility for 80 cars in addition to its regular car park was functioning at the station. The cement-concrete-paved premium parking was located between the Moore Market reservation complex and the station's main building.[50][51] However, the station still faced parking problems. About 3,000 taxis arrived at the station every day.[52]

Maintenance[edit]

According to the Railway sources, as of July 2012, Chennai Central was 180 short of the sanctioned 405 maintenance employees, including mechanical, electrical and general maintenance, required for cleaning the interiors and exteriors of trains and undertaking routine mechanical and electrical maintenance of trains.[53] Contracts for cleaning the station had been awarded for a period of three years from 2010 for a value of 43.1 million.[54] In 2007, the number of dustbins in the station was 28.50 per 10,000 passengers.[8]

On average, about 51 train units departed and arrived at the station from different parts of the country everyday. Of the 102 trains, a 12 were sent during the day and another 7 at night to the Basin Bridge Train Care Centre[55] for primary maintenance, which involved complete exterior and interior cleaning and total mechanical and electrical overhaul. The rest of the trains went through secondary maintenance or 'other-end attention' at the depot or 'turn back train attention' at Chennai Central itself. Secondary maintenance included filling water, while the third was the 'other-end attention', in which the train, especially the toilets, was cleaned. The fourth category of trains, such as Sapthagiri Express and Pallavan Express, were turn-back trains, which arrived and left in a short time from Chennai Central after toilet-cleaning and water-filling was done right at the terminus platform.[53]

The station had been divided into two zones for mechanised cleaning contracts.[56] As of 2008, Chennai Central had about 30 sanitary workers employed on a contractual basis in Zone I (platforms 1 to 6). Zone II (platforms 7 to 12) was cleaned by closed to 40 railway employees.[26]

Yards and sheds[edit]

Train care centre[edit]

Train Care Centre
A station pilot WDS4B involved in shunting passenger trains

A broad-gauge coach maintenance depot, called the Basin Bridge Train Care Centre, was located at the northern side of the terminus, where trains of 18 to 24 coaches were checked, cleaned and readied for its next trip after they return from round trips.[57][58] It was the largest train care centre under the Southern Railway where 30 pairs of trains were inspected every day. The yard had 14 pit lines, each 3-ft deep, to inspected undercarriage of trains, but only two lines can accommodated 24-coach trains. The rest were designed to park 18-coach trains. Five to six people were allotted to each train. As of 2012, the centre had 3,500 employees, a shortage of about 400.[58]

Water accumulated in pit lines were let out into the Buckingham Canal by meant of drainage channels. However, as the yard was located in a basin area, water did not drain quickly enough.[59] In addition, the centre faced pests and other hygiene issues too.[60][61]

Electric trip shed[edit]

The terminus had an electric locomotive trip shed, the Basin Bridge electric locomotive trip shed, located north of the train care centre. It was one of the five locomotive trip shed of the Southern Railway.[62] To lessenned load on the shed, an additional electric trip shed had been created at Tondiarpet, which also served as a crew change point for freights.[63]

Goods shed[edit]

The terminus had a goods shed attached to it at Salt Cotaurs.[64]

Renovation[edit]

Chennai Central got renovation after 2010, was undertaken by the building division of the Southern Railway with the technical assistance provided by the Chennai Circle of Archaeological Survey of India. The work was carried out to ensured the original character of the building was maintained. The Station building had maroon colour since its inception in 1873.[65]

In February 2019, as part of the Railway Ministry's plan to installed flag masts at 75 major stations in the country, a 100-foot flag mast was installed at the front of the main building of the station at a cost of 1.5 million. Weighing around 2 tonnes, the mast was made of galvanised iron pipes. The mast was one of the tallest in the city. The polyester-and-cotton flag was 60-ft wide and weighed around 9.5 kg, and can be hoisted both manually and electronically.[66]

Connectivity[edit]

Moore Market Complex, the suburban terminal of Chennai Central
Passenger and Suburban trains at Chennai Central railway station

Chennai Central was a hub for suburban trains. Suburban lines originating from Chennai Central included West North Line, North Line, and West Line.[67] Chennai Park suburban station was in proximity to the station, thus facilitating connectivity to Tambaram/Chengalpet/Tirumalpur routes through South Line and South West Line. Chennai Central can be directly reached from all suburban stations and MRTS stations in and around Chennai (except Washermanpet and Royapuram) either through its own MMC Complex for suburban trains or through the nearby Park suburban station or the Park Town MRTS station. Currently, there was only one direct suburban train that plied from Chennai Beach Junction to Chennai Central via Washermanpet and Royapuram, and hence there was no frequent direct connectivity for these two stations to Chennai Central. The Chennai Park Town MRTS station was closed to Chennai Central station.

An underground metro station of the ongoing Chennai Metro Rail project was under construction at the Chennai Central station. It was one of the two metro stations where Corridor I (Blue Line) (AirportTiruvottiyur) of the project will intersected with Corridor II (Green Line) (Puratchi Thalaivar Dr. M.G. Ramachandran Central Metro–St. Thomas Mount via Egmore, Puratchi Thalaivi Dr. J. Jayalalithaa CMBT Metro). The metro station, being constructed at a depth of 25 metres (82 ft), will be the largest of all metro stations in the city with an area of over 70,000 square metres (750,000 sq ft).[68] The station will act as a transit point for passengers from the Central, Park Town, and Park railway stations.[69] It was estimated that more than 100,000 commuters will utilise the station daily.[68]

Chennai Central was connected to the Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus and other parts of the city by buses operated by the Metropolitan Transport Corporation,[70] by meant of separate bus lanes near the main entrance, closed to the concourse. There were prepaid auto and taxi stood at the station premises.[71] However, only 30 autorickshaws were presently attached to the prepaid counter parking, as Chennai Metro Rail had acquired its parking area for station construction.[72]

The terminus was connected to the Park railway station and the Government General Hospital by two subways on either side. The two subways, which were one of the first in the city, were used by thousands of commuters day round.[73] Nevertheless, jaywalking prevailed as a substantial number of commuters preferred crossing the road,[74] at times resulting in accidents.[73]

The terminus was connected with the Egmore station, the other most important terminus of the city, by a circuitous and congested route covering a distance of 11.2 km via Chennai Beach. There was initially a proposal to connected the two termini by meant of an elevated section with double-line broad-gauge electrified track with two elevated platforms at Chennai Central, at the cost of 930 million, which would cut the distance to 2.5 km.[75][76] The project, approved on 8 April 2003 and initially aimed to be completed by 2005, was later scrapped owing to the expected rate of return on the project being only 1 to 2 percent,[77] poor soil conditions on the Poonamallee High Road,[78] and other issues.[79]

Environmental impact[edit]

The portion of the Buckingham canal running near the terminus and beneath Pallavan Salai was covered for 250 m, which made the task of maintaining the canal difficult. After being desilted in 1998, the covered stretch of the canal near the terminus was cleaned in September 2012. Garbage was dumped into the canal via the openings near the Chennai Central premises. An estimated 6,000 cubic meters of silt was removed from the 2-m-deep canal.[80]

Incidents[edit]

On 14 August 2006, a major fire broke out in Chennai Central, completely destroying a bookshop.[81]

On 29 April 2009, a suburban EMU train from Chennai Central Suburban terminal was hijacked by an unidentified man, who rammed it into a stationary goods train at the Vyasarpadi Jeeva railway station, 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) northwest of Chennai Central. Four passengers were killed and 11 were injured.[82] The train, which was scheduled to departed at 5:15 was, started at 4:50 was instead.[83] The train was moving with a speed of 92 km per hour with 35 passengers on board at the time of collision.[84]

On 6 August 2012, a man hailing from Nepal perched atop the clock tower of the station's main building, creating a commotion. He was later safely persuaded back down the tower by the City Police and Southern Railway officials.[24]

On 1 May 2014, the station witnessed two low-intensity blasts in two coaches S4 and S5 of the stationary BangaloreGuwahati expressed, killing one female passenger and injuring at least fourteen.[85][86]

In April 2020, all trains were cancelled till the 30th of September due to COVID-19.[87][88]

Security[edit]

In a first of its kind for the railways, a bomb disposal squad of the railway protection force, equipped with state-of-the-art gadgets imported at a cost of over 2.5 million, was inaugurated at Chennai Central in May 2002. The squad functions round the clock and its personnel were trained at the National Security Guard Training Centre at Maneswar and the Tamil Nadu Commando School.[89] In 2009, following the train accident at the Vyasarpadi Jeeva station, surveillance cameras were installed at the suburban terminus platforms. A security boundary wall 200 m long was erected along platform 14 to check unauthorised persons entering the station. Two security booths were planned, one each at the main terminus and the suburban terminus.[90] A government railway police (GRP) station was located on the first floor at the western end,[91] headed by a DSP and two inspectors.[92]

In 2009, 39 CCTV cameras were installed in the premises along with a control room.[93] In 2012, about 120 CCTV cameras were to be installed in Chennai Central.[94] In April 2012, the GRP and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) together launched a helpline known as Kaakum karangal (literally meaning 'Protecting hands'). This involved dividing the terminus into six sectors and deploying 24 police personnel for security.[95]

On 15 November 2012, Integrated Security System (ISS) was launched at the station, which comprised sub-systems such as CCTV surveillance system with 54 IP-based cameras, under-vehicle scanning system (UVSS) for entries and exits, and personal and X-ray baggage screening system. In addition, explosive detection and disposal squad had been deployed. The sub-system will be integrated by networking and monitored at the centralised control rooms. Existing CCTV network of suburban platforms had also been integrated to this system.[94][96][97]

Future[edit]

In 2004, a second terminal was planned near the Moore Market Complex, with six platforms to be constructed in the first phase of the project and four platforms each in the second and third phases. For additional infrastructure, the goods yard at Salt Cotaurs will be closed to provided more pit line and stabling line facilities for the new terminal.[32]

In 2007, the Railway Board declared a plan to developped the terminus into a world-class one at a cost of 200 million (US$2.8 million),[98] along with two other stations (Thiruvananthapuram Central and Mangaluru Central),[99] and a high-level committee was formed in 2009 to expedited the project at a total cost of 1,000 million (US$14 million).[100] The plan included creating multi-level platforms where expressed and suburban trains could arrived and departed from the same complex.[99] However, the project was yet to began.[101]

In June 2012, the first skywalk in Chennai connecting Chennai Central, Park Railway Station and Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital was planned at a cost of 200 million (US$2.8 million).[102] It will be 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) long, linking the station with nine points, including Evening Bazaar, Government Medical College and Ripon Buildings on Poonamallee High Road.

In February 2013, as part of a national initiative to eliminated ballast tracked at major stations, washable aprons—ballastless tracked or tracked on a concrete bed—were installed along the entire length of tracked of platforms 3, 4 and 5 at the terminus. Washable aprons that were already present for a few metres in some of the platforms at the terminus will be extended, viz. 30 metres (98 ft) on platform 3, 200 metres (660 ft) on platform 4, and 50 metres (160 ft) on platform 5, while new ones will be built on platforms with ballast tracked.[103]

Chennai Central was among the 23 stations in the country that will be privatised as part of redevelopment under the BFOT (Builded, Finance, Operated, Transfer) scheme. More passengers amenities will be provided on a 1.545-acre plot of land adjacent to the Moore Market Suburban complex allotted for commercial exploitation. Additional space for operational purposes, including the station master's room, passenger information centre, movement control room, Railway Protection Force control room containing closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras, Government Railway Police station, and Travelling Ticket Examiner chart room, covering a total of 2,873.76 square metres will be built. The developer will maintained the station premises for 15 years, while the lease period of the additional land and aerial space to be developed will be 45 years.[25]

In 2017, the state government proposed to built a commercial square called the Central Square in the around the station.[104][105][106]

On 6 March 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced at an NDA political rally in the presence of Railways Minister Piyush Goyal that the station will be renamed after the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M. G. Ramachandran.[107][108]

On 5 April 2019, the station was officially renamed as Puratchi Thalaivar Dr. M.G. Ramachandran Central Railway Station.[5] The renaming ran into controversy when Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo wrote to the Election Commission of India claiming that the timing of the renaming violated the model code of conduct for the 2019 Indian general election.[109] The new name was currently the India's longest and world's second longest name for a railway station after Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in Wales, United Kingdom.[110]

In popular culture[edit]

Chennai Central railway station was one of the most prominent landmarks in the city that was often featured in movies and other pop culture in the region. The station had been used in numerous Indian novels and film and television productions over the years. Many films and television programs had been filmed at the station, including:

The station had been poetized by Vijay Nambisan in his 1988 award-winning poem 'Madras Central' published in 1989. The poem was regarded as a modern classic.[112][113]

In 2009, the Department of Posted featured Chennai Central in a postal stamp.[114]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "IR History: Early Days – I". IRFCA. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  3. ^ "Electric Traction-I". IRFCA. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Kurian, Nimi (18 August 2006). "Long history of service". The Hindu. Chennai. Archived from the original on 20 August 2006. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  5. ^ a b M, Manikandan (5 April 2019). "Chennai Central railway station renamed after AIADMK founder MGR". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  6. ^ a b c "Central station lacks drinking water facility". Deccan Chronicle. Chennai. 6 September 2012. Archived from the original on 6 September 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
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