MRTS Takeover by CMRL Under Consideration; Big Upgrades Underway

MRTS, one of the lifelines of Chennai which is currently under Southern Railway, is expected to receive an upgrade as it is set to be handed over to Chennai Metro Rail Limited. The MRTS passengers can now look forward to experiencing facilities similar to Chennai Metro.

The MRTS stations are expected to undergo renovation and the platforms modified as the railway service from Chennai Beach to Velachery is expected to be upgraded to Metro coaches in the place of suburban rail coaches.Chennai Fort and Park Town are likely to be segregated from the usual suburban stations and may be refurbished as there are plans to install lifts and escalators in these stations, The New Indian Express reported their sources in Chennai Metro and Southern Railway as saying.

Once the merger happens, there are plans to upgrade the MRTS stations to have modern telecommunication systems. CCTV cameras, automated fare collection gates, passenger information systems and passenger announcement system are all planned to be introduced in MRTS stations. However, MRTS will remain a broad gauge line since gauge conversion will be too disruptive, The New Indian Express reported.

A new terminus and concourse at Beach Station with direct entry to and from Rajaji Salai and a separate area for interchange passengers is also being considered.

Consultants from PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Balaji Railroad Systems have been engaged to prepare a draft final report focusing on analysis of capital expenditure and the future capital and operating costs for MRTS post merger with CMRL. The report will also be focused on structuring the MRTS takeover and the possibilities, of integrating MRTS within the existing CMRL sturcture and of establishing MRTS as a separate company with CMRL as its operator, are both being considered in the report.

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