Estimated cost of the project was Rs.190 crore

With the Railway Board sanctioning funds for doubling the Thanjavur-Ponmalai section, the Final Location Survey (FLS) in this stretch is expected to begin in April.

Divisional Railway Manager P.V. Vaidialingam told The Hindu that consequent to a proposal forwarded to the Railway Board last year, justifying the rationale for doubling the 48.09-km line in the wake of increasing freight traffic and for ensuring punctuality of trains, the project was included in the 2011-12 railway supplementary budget.

The estimated cost of the project was Rs. 190 crore. The Railway Board had sanctioned Rs.50 crore for the 2012-13 financial year.

Upon completion of the survey, preliminary work such as preparation of drawings and schedules, planning, and material specifications would begin. A detailed cost estimate would be submitted in June to the Railway Board and physical works will begin once it approved the estimate.

Initially, the funds would be utilised for planning, procuring survey equipment and for preparation of bridge drawings. As part of the project, a bypass line for a length of 1.13 km would be laid from Ponmalai station that is close to Tiruchi railway junction.

Doubling of the Thanjavur-Ponmalai section was mooted as the single line between Tiruchi and Thanjavur had become saturated with the operation of passenger, express and freight trains every day.

There is also considerable movement of coal from Karaikal port to other destinations, besides food grains, say railway officials.