Decks have been cleared for operating services hauled by electric locomotives up to the southern tip of the country. Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) S.K. Mittal is scheduled to inspect the 87-km Thiruvananthapuram-Kanyakumari railway line on May 17.
Mr. Mittal will move along the stretch in the Inspection Special from Thiruvananthapuram Central to Kanyakumari to ‘inspect, test, and measure' the electrification works. He will check the details and safety aspects along the single-line stretch till Kanyakumari. Later in the evening, the CRS will move in the Inspection Special from Kanyakumari to Thiruvananthapuram.
Sources said all hurdles had been cleared for commissioning the stretch that was completed in December. Though the electrified stretch was ‘charged' on December 31, the CRS had been delaying the request to ‘inspect, test and measure' electrification works.
Railways had completed the electrification works in the stretch at an estimated cost of Rs.70 crore. There are 60 RoBs and FoBs in the section and 13 of them do not have the mandatory clearance prescribed for the electrified railway line. As a prelude to the CRS inspection, the Railway Electrification Wing carried out a test run of an electric locomotive on the stretch on January 2. Chief Electrical Engineer of the Railways had also given the nod for charging the line by drawing 25kV power.
At present, Railways are forced to change the electric locomotive of mail and express trains bound for Nagercoil and Kanyakumari either at Kollam or Thiruvananthapuram Central.
Once the CRS gives the mandatory nod, Railways can run electric loco-hauled trains all the way up to Kanyakumari.
The 320-km Thiruvananthapuram-Ernakulam railway line was electrified at a cost of Rs.162 crore and commissioned on December 30, 2006.