The running time of trains bound for southern destinations from Chennai is expected to come down, with Southern Railway planning to introduce locomotives with higher hauling power, Chief Mechanical Engineer V. Carmelus said on Tuesday.

A Rs.10-crore project for the maintenance of high-speed locomotives such as WDP4 and WDG4 is moving towards completion at the Golden Rock Workshop in Tiruchi. The broad gauge doubling works between Chennai and Madurai, nearing end, would facilitate operation of trains at a much higher speed as it would eliminate unscheduled stoppages for crossings.

“As of now, the periodical overhauling and other repair work of locomotives with high horse power are done at Hubli in South Western Railway. Once the maintenance facility becomes operational in Tiruchi, we will have more such locomotives. In our zone, Chennai-Tirunelveli-Chennai Nellai Express is hauled with WDP4 locomotives,” Mr. Carmelus said.

A railway official said many superfast trains in the Chennai-Nagercoil route, the most profit-making corridor, were operated at an average speed of just 56 kmph. A BG double line in this sector coupled with high-speed locomotives would take the average speed beyond 60 kmph, he added.