With the land acquisition having been completed, the Southern Railway is now waiting for allocation of Rs. 50 crore in the ensuing railway budget for resumption of works

The five-year-old project for the conversion of metre gauge railway line into broad gauge railway line from Podanur to Pollachi, which was initially hit by delay in land acquisition, is now hit by fund constraints.

With the land acquisition having been completed, the Southern Railway is now waiting for allocation of Rs. 50 crore in the ensuing railway budget for resumption of works. Meter gauge trains to the South from Coimbatore were terminated in 2008. A three km stretch of the meter gauge from Coimbatore to Podanur was converted to broad gauge in 2010 turning the Podanur — Coimbatore into a broad gauge double line. Gauge conversion works from Coimbatore to Dindigul for a distance of 160 km and Pollachi to Palakkad for a distance of 52 km began in 2010. Initial budgetary allocation for the project in 2010 was found to be inadequate.

Initial allocation was enhanced and Rs 568 crore was allocated of which nearly Rs 450 crore had been spent. Works between Dindigul — Palani were completed in 2012 and last year, the Palani — Udumalpet — Pollachi line was completed. Between Pollachi and Palani, trial run has been completed. Services are likely to resume soon. The 52 km Pollachi — Palakkad section involved 165 minor bridges of which work on 142 bridges have been completed. Railways expect this section to be ready for rail traffic anytime between March and June this year.