Chennai Beach (formerly known as Madras Beach), is a railway terminus of the Southern Railway Network in Parry’s Corner, Chennai, India. This station serves the suburban services of the Chennai suburban railway and Mass Rapid Transit System (Chennai) and a few passenger trains. It serves as the northern terminus for the Chennai MRTS line. The station is named after High Court Beach which was later built up as part of Chennai Port, and not after Marina Beach, which is located a few kilometres away and is served by Chepauk, Triplicane and Lighthouse stations of the MRTS line. The station consists of 1500 sq.m of open parking area
The station is adjacent to the High Court and Broadway. There is also Burma Bazaar, which sells foreign merchandise in small shops outside of the station. Most of the government offices and headquarters of some banks, and Parry Group’s offices are also located near the station.
In addition to being a focal terminus for much of Chennai’s rail network, the station is also a major bus transportation hub for passengers destined to north and northwest Chennai. Most of these local buses are situated near the station.
The first electrically operated rail service in Madras began on 2 April 1931 between Madras Beach and Tambaram, which became the earliest metre gauge to be electrified in the country. It was launched by Sir George Fredrick Stanley, the then governor of Madras, who was reported to have said at the opening ceremony that the new train services would transform “desolate south Madras into burgeoning garden cities”. However, the service was opened to the public only a month later on 11 May 1931.The Madras Electricity Supply Corporation, which powered the railway lines, was aided by sub-stations in Egmore and Meenambakkam. Soon, the number of trains shuttling passengers was increased to 45 a day, running every 10 minutes at peak hours, and every 30 minutes, otherwise. The running time between Madras Beach and Tambaram stations, which was 2 hours until then, was reduced to 49 minutes. The train service was made available from 4:00 in the morning up to 12:00 at night.
The station was controlled by power-operated signalling from a cabin. When the double metre-gauge line from the station up to Tambaram was electrified in 1931 with the 1,500v DC overhead system, automatic signalling was provided between the station and Madras Egmore. However, it does not signal the broad-gauge line of the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway from Rayapuram, which also serves the station. The single line to Rayapuram was controlled by the Theobald’s Token instrument, invented by an engineer of the Madras Railway and manufactured locally in the city by a firm named Orr & Co, which was used extensively on the lines of both the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway and the South Indian Railway. It was housed in the station office. The signalling of the station is controlled from Siemens all-electric power frame of 1935.
The cabin was closed and demolished in August 2002 during remodelling of the station layout in view with the gauge conversion of the lines.
There are two footbridges in the station, one each at the northern and the southern ends of the station, connecting platforms 4 through 8. The footbridge at the southern end extends into the Chennai Port, connecting the harbour with the railway station.
A project to extend one of the footbridges in the station over the Rajaji Salai on the western side was mooted in 2009–2010 at a cost of 5.2 million, and the foundation stone was laid in February 2011. The extension will be 33 metres long crossing the Rajaji Salai to reach the State Bank of India’s new building complex.
A new reservation centre with ten reservation counters and a huge visitor’s hall was built in 2013 from the general funds under the Railway Scheme. However, the centre has not yet been opened to public
Chennai Beach station is one of the busiest railway stations in the city. Around 400 trips are operated from the station every day. This includes close to 250 services in the Beach–Tambaram–Chengalpattu sector and 134 services in the Beach—Velachery MRTS sector, in addition to services to Gummidipoondi and Ennore in the north and Avadi, Pattabiram, Thiruvallur, and Thiruthani in the west, and the less-frequent services to Chennai Central. The station sees close to 100,000 passengers every day using the city’s suburban rail network, with more than 40,000 commuters buying tickets from the station every day. On an average, about 1,500 commuters book tickets every day at the passenger reservation counters at the station, with a revenue generation of around 250,000 per day