Work on setting up of the power sub-stations at Tiruchi and Vriddhachalam junctions, as part of the Villupuram – Tiruchi track electrification project, is still progressing.

These power sub-stations are expected to be commissioned shortly paving the way for the introduction of the regular train services hauled by electric locos in the Villupuram – Tiruchi section by January next. Of the three power sub-stations sanctioned for the 178.5 km long Villupuram – Tiruchi electrification project undertaken at a cost of Rs. 96.67 crore, the sub-station at Ariyalur station is already operational.

K.J.S. Naidu, Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS), had already completed the mandatory inspection of the newly electrified track a couple of months ago and expressed satisfaction.

All efforts are being taken to introduce regular services on the electric traction up to Tiruchi by January, M.S. Jayanth, General Manager, Southern Railway, told presspersons on the sidelines of the function to flag-off the cape gauge loco to Mozambique at the Goldenrock Railway Workshop on Thursday.

On the delay in the completion of the gauge conversion works between Mayiladuturai and Villupuram on the main line, Mr. Jayanth said the major works on this project had already been completed. “This is not an ordinary project. It involved the construction of about 300 minor bridges and 30 major bridges, including the one across River Coleroon, hence the delay,” he said

“At present, minor development works like creation of public amenities in stations such as Sirkazhi and Vaitheeswarankoil, have been taken up. I recently inspected the track and the other works,” he said. In all probability this new BG track will be thrown open for regular train service by January, after the mandatory inspection of the CRS, Mr. Jayanth added.

When asked about the non-introduction of some of the new trains and the extension of some other trains in Tiruchi Division announced in the Railway Budgets in the past, the General Manager said it was the paucity of coaches which was mainly responsible for the same. “Coach shortage is a major problem and steps have been taken to meet the increasing demand of the coaches”, he said.

Mr. Jayanth said the Southern Railway was involved in capacity augmentation in a big way and was implementing projects worth Rs. 10,000 crore. During the current year, track doubling work is in progress on a stretch of 122 km., and gauge conversion works for a length of 320 km.