Railway Safety Commissioner yet to give nod

Commissioning of an intermediate block section at the Pettah railway station, aimed at ending the delay in giving signal for trains to enter the Thiruvananthapuram Central station, is getting delayed as the Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety is yet to give clearance.

The Rs.1-crore signalling system was scheduled to be commissioned on November 17 during an inspection carried out from Kollam to Thiruvananthapuram Central by Deepak Krishan, General Manager of Southern Railway. The ‘Inspection Special' train with Mr. Krishan, Shashi Tharoor, MP, and Railway officials on board, did not stop at the station and the announced inspection and commissioning of the system was not carried out.

The delay in getting clearance from the Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety, Bangalore, is the main hurdle to commissioning the system, Railway sources told The Hindu.

Official apathy

With the change of guard in the Thiruvananthapuram Railway Division, sources said, the officials at the helm of affairs are not keen on expediting steps to get the mandatory clearance and commission the system.

The new signal system will result in an “unscheduled halt” at the Pettah station initially for mail, express and passenger trains coming to Thiruvananthapuram Central and beyond. This means train will not be stopped near the Upidamoodu bridge and Overbridge during the peak morning and evening hours.

Works completed

Track circuiting of the Thiruvananthapuram-Pettah section, installing new signals, and other works at the Pettah station were completed months ago, sources said. The highly saturated Thiruvananthapuram-Kochuveli section will be divided into two block sections — Thiruvananthapuram-Pettah and Pettah-Kochuveli — after the system is commissioned.

As the existing block section will be split, the controllers will not have to wait for a train to reach Kochuveli to give clearance for another train to leave Thiruvananthapuram Central. When the train leaves Pettah station, another train can be operated from the Central station towards the Kollam side.

The same is the case on the Kochuveli-Thiruvananthapuram section. The system will double the operations on the Thiruvananthapuram-Kochuveli section.

A stationmaster need not man the facility. The system is already functioning at Chalakudy and Karukutti in the division.

Sources said the congestion being faced now at the Thiruvananthapuram Central can also be reduced once the IBS is commissioned.