Minister of State for Railways E. Ahamed on Saturday said that 33,000 route km would be electrified by 2020 as per Indian Railways Vision 2020 document.

Electrification of 14,000 route km would have to be done in the next 10 years, Mr. Ahamed said after dedicating the electrified Villupuram – Tiruchi broad gauge section to the nation at a function held at the Tiruchi railway junction.

Electric traction apart from being environmental friendly was proven for its better efficiency world-wide. For countries like India which import large amount of crude oil, electrification would definitely reduce the import bill and save foreign exchange to a great extent, Mr. Ahamed pointed out.

Though Railways had been electrifying all major trunk routes progressively, electrification in the Chennai – Tiruchi – Madurai – Kanyakumari section, a major trunk route, had remained dormant for almost 50 years. However, with the increase in traffic level it had become necessary to take up electrification in this section as well progressively, he said.

With the electrification of Villupuram-Tiruchi section, the travel time between Chennai and Tiruchi was bound to come down on account of better acceleration of electric locos and elimination of traction change at Villupuram.

The Minister said electrification of Tiruchi – Madurai section had been sanctioned at a cost of Rs. 96.85 crore and wiring works completed up to Samayanallur with further works in progress.

"It has been planned to complete the entire works up to Madurai by December 2010 and introduce passenger services under electric traction from January 1, 2011." Electrification works in the Madurai – Tuticorin-Nagercoil section sanctioned at a cost of Rs. 175.50 crores was also in progress and planned to be completed by December 2011 by which time electrification of Thiruvananthapuram – Nagercoil – Kanyakumari section (sanctioned at a cost of Rs. 64.55 crore) would also be over. This would enable the railways to run electric loco hauled trains right from Kanyakumari to New Delhi from January 2012.

He said electrification of Villupuram- Vellore section sanctioned at a cost of Rs. 97.26 crore would be completed by December 2011. With the completion of all these works, the total electrified route in Southern Railway will touch 2,523 kilometres accounting for 50 per cent of the network and would be handling 80 per cent of the traffic.

The Central government was doing everything possible to bring in development at a pace never seen before, he claimed. N. Siva, MP and other railway officials were present on the occasion.