Madurai-Theni railway link.
The 90-km line between Madurai and Bodi was developed during the British era as narrow gauge between 1925 and 1928 and converted into a meter gauge (MG) line in 1953-54. Two pairs of passenger trains were operated on the line till it was closed on December 31, 2010. The trains had also helped in ferrying cardamom from Bodi to other parts of the country.
According to a statement from Southern Railway, the railway board has approved the introduction of a new passenger service between Madurai and Theni. The train will reach Theni in one hour and five minutes on the new broad gauge track. It takes more than one-and-a-half hours to reach Theni from Madurai by road.
Train No. 06701 Madurai – Theni unreserved express special train will leave Madurai Junction at 8.30am and reach Theni at 9.35am. The train will stop at Vadapalanji, Usilampatti and Andipatti stations.
In the return direction, train No. 06702 Theni – Madurai unreserved express special train will leave Theni at 6.15pm and reach Madurai at 7.35pm. The train will arrive at Andipatti at 6.28pm, Usilampatti at 6.46pm and Vadapalanji at 7.04 pm. The train will have 10 general sitting coaches and two sitting and luggage coaches.
The Madurai – Theni – Bodi railway section, which was last of the metre gauge section in the division, was closed for traffic on December 31, 2010 for gauge conversion and work dragged on for more than a decade.
Known as Cardamom express, the MG trains were an integral part of the thriving cardamom business in the Western Ghats. South Indian Railway Company limited started constructing the railway line in 1926. The first train was flagged off in 1928. The MG section had 10 stations and was the lifeline of people in the region until road traffic picked up by the 1990s.