With Venduruthy rail overbridge getting ready, the railway has accorded priority to revive Harbour Terminus railway station as a hub for passenger and goods trains.

Elaborating on the plans to The Hindu, a day before the Railway budget, Ernakulam Area Manager of the Southern Railway Rajesh Chandran said the sole major obstacle to reviving the Ernakulam Junction-Harbour Terminus station railway line is the Navy’s objection to installing overhead electric lines on the stretch, citing safety of its aircraft. “This problem can be overcome if the lines are switched off during aircraft take-off, a simple procedure.”

Mr. Chandran said that once electrified, at least six passenger/MEMU trains from northern and southern districts could terminate their trip at Harbour Terminus, decongesting Ernakulam Junction station. “Substituting electric engines with diesel for plying the short distance is a very tough procedure. The matter will soon be taken up with the Navy and higher-ups in the railway.”

The railway and other stakeholders are also keen on augmenting transportation of goods to and from Kochi port. While providing fast and hassle-free movement of goods, this will in turn boost revenue for Thiruvananthapuram Railway Division. “I spoke to senior port officers and will soon meet the Chairman,” said Mr. Chandran.

He called for speedy measures for doubling track through both Kottayam and Alappuzha. The railway is yet to commission Mulanthuruthy-Piravom track through work got over a month ago, reportedly because of the delay by the Commissioner for Railway Safety in inspecting the track.

Referring to the huge potential of Nilambur-Mysore railway line, Mr Chandran said once constructed this would reduce commuting time between Kerala and Bangalore by three hours and also reduce ticket fare by one-third.

A robust suburban rail network between Aluva/Kalamassery and Thiruvananthapuram too, was the need of the hour considering acute congestion and pollution on national and state highways. Another sector with massive passenger potential was Ernakulam-Coimbatore, he said.

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