The first direct train from Chennai to Bodinayakanur, a tourist attraction, will be functional from February 19.
What’s it about? The Chennai-Madurai triweekly Superfast Express route will now include Usilampatti, Andipatti, Theni, and finally, Bodinayakanur. This was made possible due to the completion of gauge conversion on the 90-km Madurai-Bodi section. Authorities gave the train a go-ahead after finishing inspection on the recently laid 15-km broad gauge.
- The Superfast Express will now cover its journey in 2 hours and 20 minutes. The new service was motivated by the lack of a direct route to Chennai for Theni passengers, 2,000 of whom travel daily to Chennai through other means.
- The rail arrives at Madurai at 7.10 am and reaches Bodinayakanur at 10.35 am. It leaves from Chennai on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Chennai and on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from Madurai.
Some history: The Madurai to Bodi line was originally built in the colonial era as a narrow gauge line. In 1953-54, it was converted into a metre gauge. Before the metre gauge line too was broken down, a couple of passenger trains transported cardamom, pepper and banana from Bodi.