A third railway line is to be laid between Thiruvananthapuram central and Kochuveli by the railways as part of the plan to decongest Thiruvananthapuram central and to handle more express and mail long distance trains in the central station.

Disclosing this at a press conference here on Friday, the Divisional Railway Manager, Rajiv Dutt Sharma said the third line along the seven kilometre stretch from the central station to the satellite terminal at Kochuveli had also been mooted in view of the delay in commencing the proposed operating centre at Nemom.

The Rail Over Bridges enroute to Kochuveli--Overbridge, Upidamoodu, Pettah and Chaka-- has adequate space to accommodate two more railway lines. Mr. Sharma said a detailed survey had to be carried out as land acquisition will be involved in the other stretches passing through the city.

The proposal is to close down two-three pit lines in the central station and to construct platforms for receiving and dispatching trains. Instead, in addition to the two pit lines coming up and the existing one in Kochuveli, another one will also be constructed. Mr. Sharma said the trains that terminate at the central station will be taken to Kochuveli through the third line for coaching activities.

An intermediate block section, a signalling system, had also been proposed at Pettah railway station to ensure that the trains do not get halted at the outer of the central station. In addition, the railways will be able to handle two trains in the Pettah-Thiruvananthapuram central stretch at a time.

Mr. Sharma said as the existing 12.14 hectares of land with the Railways at Nemom is a triangle, another 28.33 hectares of land needs to be acquired along the railway track for setting up the operating centre. “We have already written to the State for acquiring land and the master plan has been forwarded to the railway headquarters’, he added.

The proposed operating centre will be modelled on the lines of the Railway’s Basin Bridge Coaching Depot in Chennai. The Railways are planning 10 pit lines to take care of the maintenance of 30 trains; 12 stabling lines; sick lines and quarters for railway personnel at Nemom.

The Divisional Railway Manager said the line capacity has crossed 100 per cent in almost all places and terminals are being utilized above their normal capacity. The division, which handles 120 trains and carries about 2.20 lakhs of passengers daily, is short of pit lines, stabling lines, platform lines and path for trains.

Mr. Sharma said the second phase of the Kochuveli terminal is in progress and is expected to be completed in the next financial year. The electrification of the Thiruvananthapuram-Kanyakumari stretch had begun with the work commencing at Kuzhithurai. The work will be completed within one year.