General Manager of Southern Railway Rakesh Misra, on Tuesday, said re-routing of some trains via Coimbatore (those running via the Irugur — Podanur section) on a priority basis and introduction of trains announced in the recent budget will be done very soon.
He was talking to reporters after inaugurating the Rs. 7.99-crore Integrated Security System in Coimbatore which included 72 surveillance cameras, parcel and luggage scanner besides under-vehicle scanner. Sujatha Jayaraj, Salem Divisional Railway Manager, was present on the occasion.
Coimbatore Railway Struggle Committee member G.K. Nagaraj, Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee members Jameel Ahmed and U.K. Sivagnanam presented a memorandum pressing for more railway connectivity for Coimbatore region.
On re-routing of trains, Mr. Misra said yard remodelling needed to be done at Podanur for easy handling of more trains entering from the Coimbatore side. Initially, it was proposed to take up the yard remodelling during May. Considering the heavy summer vacation traffic, the proposal was deferred, he said.
After the monsoon, yard remodelling would be done at Shoranur first and then at Podanur, Mr. Misra said and added that all the nine pairs of trains cannot be routed via Coimbatore from the Podanur — Irugur — Podanur section because of traffic constraints. Only three or four trains, on a priority basis, could be routed via Coimbatore by 2014, he said.
Mr. Misra also pointed out that ballistic reinforcement of Coimbatore — Irugur section had been completed enabling operation of trains on this section at the normal speed of 100 km per hour as against the earlier restrictions of 70 km per hour. Once the Commissioner Rail Safety completed the study, trains could be operated at a higher speed.
When asked about the delay in introduction of trains announced in the budget, Mr. Misra and Ms. Jayaraj said the Jodhpur — Bangalore train’s extension to Coimbatore found a place only in the interim budget and was never finalised in the budget proposals passed by Parliament. With regard to Tirunelveli — Dadar Express via Coimbatore announced in the last budget, Mr. Misra said the train would be introduced on May 1. Asked about Coimbatore — Mannargudi, Coimbatore — Rameswaram (weekly) and Palakkad — Erode Mainline Electrical Multiple Units (MEMU), Mr. Misra said once the railway budget was passed by Parliament, steps would be taken to introduce these trains.
Before that happened, coaches and locomotives for the trains would be mobilised, he said.
Regarding delay in Podanur — Pollachi gauge conversion, Mr. Misra said there were problems in acquisition of 20 hectares en route and once the land acquisition process was over, the work would be speeded up.