Sunday, November 22, 2015

Chennai Metro Rail (CMRL) - Simply the best !

"Showstopper" ... this is the term that you'll use to describe the rains in Chennai, which is continuously pouring for the last few weeks. The rains have brought the entire city to a grinding halt including schools, hospitals and shops. If there is one thing that keeps moving without any hiccups
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for the last few weeks, amidst intense rains, it is the Chennai Metro Rail (CMRL).

(Also read: Heavy rain turned Chennai to Venice)

It was the Diwali eve. I packed my stuff from office and headed to the parking lot to take my car to home. When I got into the car, I was shocked to see that my car's gear box wasn't functional. That is when I realized that the reason could be the car's small dip in the morning, in the stagnant pool of water near my office. I decided not to spoil my Diwali mood, left the car in my office garage and decided to take CMRL to home. It is about 6 months since CMRL started its service in Chennai. I never had a chance to take a ride, even for pleasure. I thought it is a good opportunity for me to experience the CMRL service.

I walked to the Ekkatuthangal station near my office. The moment I climbed the stairs to reach the 1st level, I was astonished. The infrastructure was world class. They had a security checkpoint similar to the airports. The security guards scanned all the people and their belongings before letting them in. There were representatives at the ticketing counter who helped me to get a token (ticket) for my ride to Arumbakkam station. The ticket costed Rs.40 for a single ride. I went to the 2nd level to board the train. The 2nd level was as clean as the first level. There were security guards placed at several places. The monitors in the 2nd level clearly indicated the time duration for the next train to arrive. The count down clock in the monitor started showing "5 minutes for the next train to Koyambedu". 5 mins became 4, 4 became 3 ... finally the clock showed 0 minutes for train's arrival and I saw the train entering the station. The doors of the coach opened without making any noise, as smooth as the doors of the elevators you see in a 5 star hotel. I entered the coach and took a seat.

The coach interiors were air conditioned and very clean. There were 2 stations between Ekkattuthangal and Arumbakkam. Whenever the train approached a station, there were clear announcements made inside the coach with a clear digital sign board. It reminded me of the light rail journey that I used to take in US in 2002, to go to office. In about 10 minutes I reached the Arumbakkam station and got down from the train. I waved a bye to the CMRL and started taking the stairs to the road.

When I reached the ground level and got to the road, I felt as if I jumped from a western world to the local Chennai, with just a flip of a switch. I was amazed by the quality of the service and the CMRL infrastructure. I wish our Chennaiites continue to support the government in maintaining the infrastructure in its current form. Our Chennai CMRL is simply the best.