Service also on Ernakulam-Shoranur route mooted
Fully air-conditioned rakes will ply up to 80 kmph in the Thiruvananthapuram-Chengannur suburban rail corridor in three years time if State government gives its go-ahead for the Mass Rapid Transport System (MRTS).
A draft detailed project report (DPR) prepared by Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation was submitted to the government and the State Cabinet’s approval is awaited. A bilateral agreement can be signed once the Railway formally accords its approval to the proposal under which six-coach AC rakes will operate services in the sector. The total project cost is likely to be around Rs. 3,000 crore, sources said. The 125-km-long stretch was selected since it has a double track. The corridor can be extended up to Ernakulam once the track through Kottayam is doubled. Suburban services can also be introduced in Ernakulam-Shoranur route, based on the success of the Thiruvananthapuram-Chengannur corridor, the sources said. A key component of the suburban system is introduction of automatic signals. Once this is ready, trains will not have to wait or be detained till those going in front reach the next station. Trains can go one after the other, as in Mumbai suburban rail. This will also speed up express and other trains in the sector, considerably improving track utilisation. The desired speed can be achieved if overbridges are built at level crossings, they said.
Raising platforms at stations will help since this will help fast boarding and alighting from trains. Planners have envisaged MEMU-type rakes with vestibule, since MEMU trains accelerate and decelerate faster than trains with conventional rakes. Doors will close automatically as in metro trains.
“Expecting the State government’s nod, we hope to do speed up paper works for Central clearances from June,” the sources said.