Around 6,500 buildings will have to be knocked down for the high speed rail corridor from Thiruvanvanthapuram to Kasaragod.

Chairman and Managing Director of the Kerala High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd T. Balakrishnan told The Hindu on Wednesday that massive land acquisition would be avoided through elevated structures and tunnelling.

Of the total length of 526 km, around 297 km would be on elevated path, 126 km through tunnels, 17 km on bridges and 87 km at ground level, he said.

Mr. Balakrishnan said a disinformation campaign was active in the State. The alignment in general requires 15 to 20 metres width only. The structure supporting the high speed rail will be on a single pillar spaced 25 metre apart to avoid large-scale acquisition of land.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which is preparing the detailed project report, is expected to submit it by September this year. Two parallel standard gauge tracks, which would be independent of the existing rail network, will be the highlight of the corridor.

In the initial years, trains will run at 200-250 km/hr. By the third year, trains will pick up more speed to clock 350 km/hr.

As per the preliminary project proposal, the 220-km distance between and Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram could be covered in 45 minutes and Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod in two hours and 45 minutes. An air conditioned train would have a capacity to carry 817 passengers.

According to DMRC authorities, no level-crossing or pedestrian crossing will be permitted to prevent smash-ups. The high speed rail corridor could be above or below ground level or on viaduct (depending upon the terrain). It would be decided only on completion of the survey/details, they said.

The estimate cost of the project is Rs. 1, 18, 000 crore. Japan’s JICA is expected to fund 80 per cent of the project cost while the Centre and the State would have to meet the remaining 20 per cent cost. An all-party meet would be convened after the DMRC submits its detailed project report.

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