Taking cue from last year’s heavy rains, Southern Railway had taken sufficient advance precaution to ensure safety of the rail passengers in view of the cyclonic storm Vardah, following High velocity winds amidst heavy rains which resulted in severe damages to Platforms structures, Over head power supply equipments, Communication cables, tracks and station premises. These damages are still being estimated and the detailed assessment is in progress.
During the Cyclonic Storm Vardah, the absence of power and communication multiplied challenges that the Railways had to face. The Control Office of Southern Railway Head Quarters and Chennai division set up special monitoring cells, coordinating with field officials for updating the situation on real time basis, duly deploying officers and staff at key stations to monitor the movement of trains.
In the midst of high winds and torrential rains, dedicated staff of railways worked non stopped to restore the train services and provided all possible assistance to the stranded passengers. The valuable support of State Government, and District Collectors, Metropolitan Transport authorities was timely to provide immense support and assistance in various areas where people were stranded. Voluntary organizations too came forward to provide food and water to the stranded passengers. Though the movements of the trains were not predictable because of the sudden incidents like tree falling, electricity power supply and communication disruptions owing to high winds and rain, frequent press releases to Press and media and Bulletins in Social media were issued to reach the maximum information to the public.
During the period 12.12.2016 to 15.12.2016, 62 trains were cancelled with an average earnings of Rs.6 lakhs per train between popular destinations of Southern Railway. 8 trains were terminated short of destination, 16 trains were diverted, and 26 trains were rescheduled. To help the stranded passengers to reach their destination, out of the trains which were short terminated before reaching Chennai Central and Chennai Egmore in view of the restrictions on line, 8 passenger special trains were run at a later time after being short terminated.
The main supplier of Overhead Traction Power to Railways, TANGEDCO itself was severely affected. Power supply was awaited to resume the MRTS and Madras - Tambaram section traffic.
The drop in terms of earnings works out to approximately Rs.11 lakhs on the Suburban sector of Chennai Division between 12th and 14th December 2016 considering the Division earns Rs.5.5 lakhs on an average on the Suburban passenger segment per day.
The average Passenger earnings of Chennai Division is Rs.4.6 crores and average Freight Earnings is Rs.2.74 crores a day based on the current year average. However, the actual revenue loss can be assessed only when total refunds are compiled at the end of the time period considering the refunds provided