Share This News

Chennai, Dec 20 – All the 509 passengers who were stranded in the Tiruchendur-Chennai Egmore express at Srivaikuntam railway station due to unprecedented extreme to very extreme rains in southern districts, were safely rescued on Tuesday.

All the rescued passengers, who were stranded in the train since Sunday night, were taken to Vanchi Maniyatchi station from where they will be sent to Chennai by a special train tomorrow.
At Vanchi-Maniyatchi the passengers were given food, drinking water and were subjected to medical

Southern Railway said in the aftermath of heavy rains and flooding in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts from December 17, train traffic was disrupted as track parameters have been breached on certain sections.

From 2119 hours of December 17, around 800 passengers of Train No.20606 Express (Tiruchendur-Chennai Egmore) remained stranded at Srivaikuntam Railway Station and the school nearby as the train had to terminate at the station due to unsafe track conditions ahead. Considering the extreme speed of water currents and breaches enroute, no rescue team could reach the location on December 18.

Even the chopper belonging to the Indian Airforce that took off from Sulur base at 16:40 hrs yesterday could not air drop the food and relief material due to adverse weather conditions and poor lighting.
Food and water was arranged with the help of State Police and local people at both the school where 300 stranded passengers were accommodated and also at Srivaikuntam station where 500 passengers were staying in the train.

Railway staff of Madurai Division were the first to reach Srivaikuntam station. RPF Team from Tirunelveli under the supervision of Shri.Praveeen Kumar, Inspector/RPF/TEN along with 7 RPF Staff besides 02 Commercial Supervisors rushed to the Srivaikuntam on 18.12.2023 with water bottles, other food items braving the extreme water currents by using different transport means such as truck, jeep and towards the end walking in the above chest level flood water for about 3 Kms and supplied water and other food items to the passengers. This instilled great hope for rescue amongst stranded passengers.

Later, 3 choppers from Indian Air Force air dropped food packets and water to the stranded passengers.
Following the reaching of the Railway team, NDRF also reached the station nearly after 30 long hours of their attempt in reaching the station. They immediately swung into the evacuation process along with Railway Protection Force and Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services.

By today evening around 1800 hrs, all the 509 passengers from the Station were evacuated and taken to the buses that were kept ready for plying them to VanchiManiyacchi Station where a special train has been kept ready for their onward journey to Chennai.

The stranded passengers walked through water which was below knee level for a distance of about 3 kms and after which they were taken by buses to Maniyacchi Stations after rendering medical assistance by the Railway medical team.
They were helped with nylon ropes to wade through the water. The old and infirmed were carried in stretchers with the help of RPF and NDRF.

Of the 300 stranded accommodated at a school in Srivaikuntam,after the water had receded 270 passengers have moved out on their own as most of them had belonged to the local/nearby districts. The remaining 30 passengers are also being evacuated with the help of RPF and will be moved by road to Maniyachhi. Station.

A special train will be run from Vanchi Maniyachi Station to Chennai Egmore for evacuation of all the stranded passengers. The train will be run on the same route of Train No.20606 Chendur Express via Kovilpatti, Virudhunagar, Madurai, Dindigul, Tiruchchirappalli, Thanjavur, Mayiladuthurai, Cuddalore Port, Villupuram, Chengalpattu, Tambaram.