R. Krishna Kumar
Passenger trains to run on Mysore-Nanjangud section soon; freight services to follow in due course
Passenger services likely to be introduced from May 22
Train services will reduce traffic on highway
MYSORE: The broad-gauge train service on the Mysore-Nanjangud section will become operational in a few days’ time following clearance by the Commissioner for Railway Safety.
A technical team of engineers and other senior officials accompanied the commissioner, K.J.S. Naidu, for the track inspection exercise in the last week of March. Work on the 26-km section was found to be satisfactorily executed and speed trials were conducted successfully.
Sources in the Mysore division of South Western Railway told The Hindu that Mr. Naidu had cleared the project and certified the tracks fit for the commencement of passenger services. “In all probability, passenger services will commence on May 22 as contemplated by the higher authorities. But, in any case, the commencement of broad-gauge services will not be delayed beyond May 31,,” they said.
The Railway authorities will initially operate three pairs of passenger services on the stretch and will gradually introduce additional trains. Services on the Mysore-Nanjangud-Chamarajanagar section were suspended to facilitate gauge-conversion work. The last metre-gauge service was operated in January 2007.
Most stations on the section have been upgraded and platforms lengthened to accommodate 24-coach rakes, while the entire signalling system has been overhauled. A new multiple aspect colour signalling system has been installed in place of the mechanical semaphore-type signals. The height of the platforms has also been raised by two feet.
Gauge-conversion work on the Mysore-Nanjangud section is part of the uni-gauge policy introduced by the Railways, which received administrative approval in 2001. The project received a major fillip when Rs.45 crore was sanctioned in the 2005 Railway Budget.
As a precursor to the actual commencement of train services, the authorities on Sunday loaded over 800 vehicles manufactured by the TVS group in the parcel van of a passenger train at Kadakola station, which is between Mysore and Nanjangud. “Normally, the TVS factory used to load its vehicles onto parcel vans at the Mysore Railway Station, but as track clearance has now been accorded, we decided to have the parcels loaded onto vans closer to the factory,” a Railway official said.
Extension of services
Railway authorities also confirmed that a few long-distance passenger services operating between Mysore and Bangalore would be extended to Nanjangud in due course. As a result, the Tirupati-Mysore Fast Passenger may be extended up to Nanjangud, in addition to two passenger trains running between Mysore and Bangalore. This will help decongest the Mysore Railway Station from where the number of trains being operated has increased over the years. “The extension of services to Nanjangud will help the Railways ensure better maintenance of rakes apart from decongesting the shunting yard in Mysore,” the sources said.
Once the passenger service on the Mysore-Nanjangud section becomes operational, it will take the load off the existing highway, which is saturated with heavy vehicles and trucks that compete for space with passenger vehicles. The entire stretch has seen a number of road accidents.
The introduction of the passenger service will also mean commencement of freight services in due course, which will result in a shift in the mode of transportation preferred by industries in Nanjangud. Following the suspension of train services, road was the only option for transportation. But once freight services become regular, a large chunk of goods will be seen handled by the division and will in turn decongest the highway.