Virudhunagar-Manamadurai section completed at last

After five years of wait, the gauge conversion work on the Virudhunagar-Manamadurai section is now officially completed, as it is getting ready for inspection by the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) on June 20 and 21.

The CRS will begin inspection of the 67-km-long broad-gauge section from Virudhunagar on June 20. “After the completion of the inspection on June 21, a speed trial will be conducted on the new tracks,” a railway official said.

Ideal for goods trains

“The plain terrain will make this section a preferred goods corridor for the railways unlike the Madurai-Dindigul-Tiruchi section which has gradients.

The plain terrain can help goods train haul as much as 4,500 tonnes of cargo with much ease whereas the maximum haul on the slope terrain of Madurai-Dindigul section is limited to around 3,300 tonnes. For more load, the goods train will have to be pulled by two locomotives,” the officer said.

Another official said as the single-line track on the Virudhunagar-Madurai section was being over-utilised, most of the goods trains between Tiruchi and the southern districts will be diverted through Virudhunagar, Manamadurai and Karaikudi.

On clearance of the new line by the CRS, the officials plan to divert some of the trains, now running on the Virudhunagar-Madurai section, too on this section.

The work by the Railway Construction Wing that began in 2008 drew flak from rail users for the slow progress it made.

The delay also saw the cost of the project escalating to Rs.250 crore from Rs.175 crore.

Besides laying of a broad-gauge line, the project envisaged construction of new station buildings at Narikudi, Tiruchuzhi and Aruppukottai railway stations.

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