The 10-km Velankanni-Nagapattinam rail line is nearing completion with penultimate works, focussing on safety, in progress.

As part of the works, Southern Railway has commissioned an additional packing machine to ensure firm embedment of sleepers on to the ballasts. It would be put to use soon for expediting the works.

The packing machines would provide firmly laid sleepers over ballasts to prevent relative movement of the sleeper after the line is commissioned. Nandakumar, Deputy Chief Engineer, Southern Railway, told The Hindu: “The purpose is to make the track stable, as the primary concern of Railways is passenger safety.”

The station building at Velankanni, constructed three years ago, is being overhauled and provision provided for additional platforms and shelters. Works on platform surface, approach roads, VIP siding and VIP lounge and retiring are under way. The station works will entail expenditure Rs.10 crore to Rs.12 crore. According to Mr. Nandakumar, some minor works would be taken up at the Nagapattinam station too, before the line is opened.

Loco trial run was conducted on the stretch in early February after the track was laid. The ballasts remained to be laid then. Since the line passed through loose earth, additional protection is required for bridges and embankments and those works are in progress, Mr. Nandakumar said.

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