The month of October saw the celebration of Maha Pushkaram in Tirunelveli district along the course of the river Tamirabarani. Southern Railway made elaborate arrangements for the successful management of crowds arriving by train for the Maha Pushkaram and also undertook several measures to provide adequate railway facilities for thousands of pilgrims at Tirunelveli Junction Railway station from 11th to 23rd October 2018
Anticipating the extra demand well in advance, Southern Railway planned and operated 35 additional SPECIAL trains in the Chennai Egmore / Tambaram – Tirunelveli / Nagercoil Sengottai/Tenkasi/ routes. These additional trains were run between 11/10/18 to 23/10/18 and carried 31,103 reserved passengers which resulted with an earning of Rs.2.56 Crores revenue to the Railways, with all the trains running to full capacity.
To handle the huge influx of pilgrims arriving for the Pushkaram, Madurai division operated 3 Additional UTS counters for ticketing and enquiry at Tirunelveli every day during the period from 11/10/18 to 23/10/18 handling about 1.82 Lakh passengers and earning about 1.07 Crores from unreserved tickets. This shows an increase of 68% in passengers and 97% in earnings over Tirunelveli area when compared to last year for the same period.
Adequate Railway Personnel were also provided at various stations and trains for the festival. In addition to 10 ticket checking squad staff, 43 additional TTEs and 38 additional RPF personnel were deployed at Tirunelveli, Tiruchendur and Ambasamudram stations, 40 additional cleaning staff were deployed along with the regular 18 staff in the section, for cleaning activities. To improve the facilities at the stations, revamping of platforms and waiting halls were also done.
Apart from this, facilities for drinking water and catering as well as effective public information system and co-ordinating cell for Railway Officers for crowd management were also made to handle the huge passenger turnout of 1,81,900 at Tirunelveli, 57,865 at Tiruchendur, and 45,517 at Ambasamudram.
Railways also coordinated with the State Road Transport Corporation for getting bus services from and to Tirunelveli junction towards the festival occasions.
During the period, about 620 cases of ticket-less travellers were also detected which fetched an about 3 Lakh additional earnings as fine.