With the works almost nearing completion, Southern Railway is gearing up for conducting a trial run on the Palani – Pollachi section latest by May.

A team of officials from Southern Railway led by Chief Administrative Officer (Construction) S. Vijayakumaran, Chief Signal and Telecom Engineer N. Elavarasan, Chief Engineer (Construction) Prafulla Verma, and Deputy Chief Engineer (Construction) R. Ramakrishnan carried out an inspection of the works recently.

Officials told mediapersons that more than 70 per cent of the works had been completed on the Palani – Pollachi section and with the works being expedited now, the official machinery was planning for a trial run in May and after inspection by the Commissioner Rail Safety, the line is likely to be thrown open for passenger train services some time in June or July this year.

Southern Railway embarked on the gauge conversion of the Dindigul – Pollachi and Pollachi – Podanur and Pollachi – Palakkad sections in 2009. Palani to Pollachi is about 62 km, Pollachi to Palakkad is about 52 km and Pollachi – Podanur is about 40 km and the total outlay for the project is Rs. 447 crore.

Already rail traffic has commenced on the Dindigul – Palani line. As far as Pollachi – Podanur line was concerned, there were some hitches in land acquisition in six villages - Kinathukkadavu, Nallatipalayam, Solvampalayam, Chettipalayam, Arasampalayam and Kodangipalayam. About 40 acres of land was required for laying the line for 10-km stretch. Now, the land acquisition was over in five villages and efforts are on to resolve the issues concerning land acquisition in Kodangipalayam village.

With regard to Pollachi – Palakkad railway line, works were over in respect of 22 km and the rest were delayed due to contractual failures and too many bridge works. Now, the focus has been shifted on both the sections and officials are confident of completing the works before February 2014.

With regard to the Dindigul – Podanur section, there are 38 unmanned level crossings of which 16 level crossings would get underpasses or road over bridges.

Nineteen unmanned level crossings would be turned into manned level crossings. Three of the level crossings do not account for any major traffic.

With regard to the plea for setting up a railway station at Koilpalayam, officials said that the revenue potential will be assessed before taking a decision on the same.

Pollachi MP K. Sugumar, who accompanied the officials, pointed out that Rs. 75 lakh would be allocated from the MPs Local Area Development Fund for constructing a railway station at Atchipatty and the plea for setting up the railway station would be taken up with the railway administration.

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