Revamping Perambur railway station can improve commuter experience

With the allocation of Rs 17.8 crore for redevelopment of Perambur railway station, here is what the station needs to meet needs of commuters.

On August 6 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the renovation of 508 stations across the country including the Perambur railway station. As per reports Rs 17.86 crores has been allotted to renovate the second oldest Railway Station in Chennai.

The proposed renovation will include the construction of new buildings which will accommodate ticket booking counters, a waiting hall, a VIP lounge, new toilets, retail vending units, cloakrooms, office spaces etc. 

Additionally, provisions have been made to include lifts, escalators, restoration of the existing foot-over bridge, more benches, CCTV surveillance, water taps, solar power units, LED lights, and restoration of platform flooring and parking lots.

In addition to these amenities, some key gaps in infrastructure must be addressed to improve the experience of commuters at the Perambur railway station. 

Read more: Citizens’ wishlist: How to make Perambur railway station user-friendly

Facilities needed at Perambur railway station

Perambur railway station has a footfall of over a hundred thousand commuters on a daily basis. We get to see passengers waiting for hours together in the open spaces in and around the railway station to board the long-distance trains. Most of the time the long-distance trains are late by 6 to 7 hours and the passengers are forced to wait on the platform without proper waiting room or dormitories. 

While we welcome the idea of providing VIP lounges for upper-class passengers, we suggest the provision of dormitories or pod hotels to accommodate economy-class commuters who are forced to wait in open areas for several hours. 

While a new pay & use toilet has been provided behind the ticket counter for the commuters, the restroom for the differently abled behind the Station Manager’s office and also near the new advance reservation counter on Platform 4 remains locked most of the time. When enquired, we were advised that the key was available at the Station Masters office and will be provided upon request. 

chennai perambur railway station toilets
Toilets for differently-abled passengers remains locked most of the time. Pic: Raghukumar Choodamani

The Railway Administration must look at the possibility of introducing App Based Toilet facilities. Differently-abled citizens or senior citizens should not have to run from pillar to post to get the keys while in transit. Also, the sewage connection from the new paid toilet facility is yet to be provided by CMWSSB. The grey and blackwater are now being stored in a septic tank and are being cleared with the help of the trucks. There are times when the sewage from the septic tank overflows onto the main road. 

Since crores of rupees are being invested to renovate the entire railway station, we feel it would only be appropriate to get CMWSSB to provide the sewage connection immediately. 

The Railway administration should also strive to provide clean and free-for-use public urinals for the general public outside the railway station. We get to see commuters easing themselves in public along the compound walls around the railway station and the stench is unbearable. If implemented, this move can go a long way in delivering a Swacch Bharat.

Several long-distance express trains stop in Perambur and there is an urgent need than ever before to set up a parcel office at this station. We urge the railway administration to provide a pathway across the tracks to move the trollies between the platforms.

The electronic display board at the entrance to the railway station remain defunct most of the time. The issue is addressed after commuters choose to lodge a complaint. It would be of great help if an upgraded version of the display board is provided when the station is renovated.

display board perambur
Digital display boards at the Perambur station must be fixed. Pic: Raghukumar Choodamani

Need for better security at Perambur railway station

Security has been a major cause of concern at the Perambur Railway Station. Until a few months ago only one RPF official was being deployed on a part-time basis to monitor the activities within the Railway Station. Several instances of chain or mobile phone snatching, pickpocketing and mugging have been reported. 

With too many openings in and around the railway station, the officials say it is very difficult to keep the station secure. The construction of the compound wall between Perambur and Vyasarpadi Jeeva Station is almost nearing completion. A small stretch of the dilapidated compound wall between the exit ramp on the east end of the Railway Station and the parking lot near the bus stop is yet to be reconstructed.

tree along boundary wall of perambur station
Damages to the wall can be found along the boundary. Pic: Raghukumar Choodamani

The “May I Help You” counter in the first platform remained locked most of the days. After we escalated the matter to the higher officials, we are glad the number of RPF officials has been enhanced, but it’s not enough. 

If the entire RPF battalion can be deployed for a stone-laying function, why is the administration shying away from deploying enough officials at the station on a regular basis? 

Visible police presence within railway stations is known to curb illegal activities to a great extent. Investing in the new infrastructure alone will not serve any purpose unless it’s secured and maintained properly. We hope this will also be looked into with a sense of seriousness when the renovation is undertaken.

Read more: Citizen audit finds issues aplenty in Perambur Railway Station

Improving connectivity to Perambur railway station

With the work for Chennai Metro in Perambur ongoing, integration of the railway services with the other modes of transport is also being considered. The bus stop shelters near the Perambur railway station are currently located at different spots and the bus bays are totally encroached upon. 

It would be ideal for the Railways to work closely with CMRL and MTC to integrate the multimodal transport facilities bearing in mind the long-pending proposal to implement CUMTA.

A multi-level underground parking facility would also benefit commuters.

Walking spaces within the station’s premises must also be free from any obstruction. A skywalk from the railway platforms to connect Madhavaram High Road and Paper Mills Road will also go a long way in easing the pedestrian traffic on the roads.

Auto rickshaws have also been seen blocking the entry to the railway station during peak hours. It would be of greater help if the traffic bottlenecks on Perambur High Road North Side opposite the Railway Station are removed. This will ease congestion outside the station during peak hours.

With the announcements that have been made and the requests that have been placed with the Railway authorities, it is the hope of the residents of Perambur that the renovated station will be able to cater to the needs of the commuter in a much more efficient manner. 

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  1. RC SEKAR says:

    Raghu, you are the voice of the general public and please continue to raise your voice to the attention of those who can fulfill with actions.

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