Vaigai Express turns 41 this 15 Aug

By S Vishnu Sharmaa Published on Aug 06, 2018 03:19 PM IST

Chennai: Did you know that Vaigai Express was the only train in Southern Railway to be have tubelight interiors and sun control sliding glass shutters installed for the first time in all its eight second-class coaches?

That was not all, there were many interesting facts about this most used train in Southern Railway that is going to turn 41 this 15 August.

Connects Chennai with Madurai

It was on 15 August 1977 at 6 am that train No. 135 Vaigai Express began its inaugural journey from Madurai to Madras Egmore. Then onwards there has been no stopping the train. According to sources, when it was introduced in 1977, the train had 16 coaches, hauled by twin-YDM4 diesel locos.

Vaigai Express is said to have clocked the fastest run between Madurai and Madras Egmore - a distance of 497 kilometres - on the first day in 7 hours and 5 minutes when it entered Madras Egmore at 1.05 pm, matching the speed of many broad gauge super fast trains of Southern Railway.

For the sake of safety, the train speed was cut to a journey time of 7 hours and 40 minutes later on. With the turntable facility available at Trichy, Chennai and Madurai, the operations staff always ensured that the YDM4, hauling the Vaigai Express, always had the short hood facing the front every time it started its journey.

It is worth recollecting that it was on Vaigai Express that the first AC coaches made by Integral Coach Factory (ICF) were used. They were 40-seater AC chair car coaches.

The fastest diesel engines of the country were used for Vaigai Express. From 12 February 2014, Vaigai Express is being hauled by electric locomotive WAP-7 from Royapuram Loco Shed, from Madurai to Chennai Egmore.

Churning out another interesting fact about the train, a senior railway official said the train is being run at the top speed for nearly 40 years and yet it has never met with an accident. It is the same train that has stood first and second in the country when it came to getting clearance for operation above 100 kmph on metre gauge tracks.

The YDM4 for the Vaigai Express had been fitted with a double-tone horn which made it easy for rail users and railway staff alike to identify the loco as well as the train, which was never in use on the other YDM4s which operated on the same route for other trains.

38th, 39th anniversary
 The railway fans celebrated the 38th anniversary of the popular train by bringing out a special cake with a picture of Vaigai Express and porcelain mugs printed with photographs of the iconic train that portrayed its evolution since 1977.A group of rail fans celebrated the 39th anniversary of Vaigai Express on 15 August 2016 - they decorated the loco of Chennai-bound Vaigai Express and cut a cake once the Madurai-Bound Vaigai Express arrived at its destination.