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Rail line doubling to be over by 2015

Staff Reporter
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ON TRACK:Minister of State for RailwaysAdhir Ranjan Chowdhury (second from right) lays the foundation stone for escalators at Ernakulam Junction railway station on Thursday.— Photo: By Special Arrangement
ON TRACK:Minister of State for RailwaysAdhir Ranjan Chowdhury (second from right) lays the foundation stone for escalators at Ernakulam Junction railway station on Thursday.— Photo: By Special Arrangement

The Ernakulam-Kayamkulam rail line doubling work through Kottayam and Alappuzha was going on as per the revised schedule and would be over by 2014-15, said the Minister of State for Railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

He said this was the first time that the Railway was providing ‘committed funds’ for track doubling in the busy corridor. The minister was talking to reporters after laying the foundation stone for installing escalators at all six platforms of the Ernakulam Junction railway station.

More escalators

Mr. Chowdhury said escalators would be installed in 15 A-class railway stations under Southern Railway. He assured that the long-pending work to upgrade Ernakulam Junction railway station will begin soon.

“We will coordinate with the (Kerala) tourism ministry to renovate the station based on the State’s traditional architecture,” the Minister said. To a question on the feasibility of private participation in developing stations, he said the success rate of such ventures was not very encouraging because of the long gestation period. “We are planning incentives to overcome this.”

Shortage of coaches

He said the Railway planned to purchase 30,000 coaches in the 12{+t}{+h}Five-Year Plan to operate more trains and to augment coaches in existing trains.

On concerns about thecleanliness of the coaches that are in operation in Kerala, he said this was being looked into. “The Railway needs to catch up with Kerala on matters like cleanliness,” he said.

The Minister said reservation counters would be opened in rural areas of the country.

MEMU trains

Union Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies K. V. Thomas sought steps to allot more mainline electrical multiple unit (MEMU) trains to Kerala. “Steps must also be taken to grant stop for Parasuram Express and Kerala Express at Tripunithura,” he said.

Mayor Tony Chammany sought steps to develop Ernakulam Junction station’s eastern side entry, since the city is fast expanding to the east and commuters have to cross two congested bridges to reach the main entry on the western side.

Speakers also demanded changing the nomenclature of Ernakulam Junction and Town stations since they often created confusion.

The others who spoke include Charles Diaz, MP; Hybi Eden and Dominic Presentation, MLAs; and the Ernakulam Area Manager of Southern Railway, P L Asok Kumar.

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