Rail passengers in Malabar have reasons to cheer as the track-doubling work on the 307-km Shoranur-Mangalore stretch is expected to get over by October 16.

The non-interlocked (NI) work, a component of the doubling work, in the six-km Shoranur Junction-Karakkad stretch, and other allied works would begin on September 25. With this, Railways expected to ease certain ‘operational constraints’ and improve rail traffic in the region, sources said.

The ongoing electrification work on the stretch, up to Mangalore, was expected to get over by 2015. With this, the delay on account of engine change at Shoranur would be a thing of past, they said.

The track-doubling on the Shoranur-Karakkad stretch, the last leg of the Shoranur-Mangalore line, was crucial in many respects as it would lead to Shoranur becoming the gateway to north Kerala from the south and Tamil Nadu, R. Prashant, general secretary, Kasaragod Railway Passengers Association, said.

The Shoranur-Mangalore doubling work started in 1996. The completion of the Shoranur-Karakkad stretch would help reduce the running time of major trains. It should also pave way for the introduction of new trains and the extension of services beyond Kannur, Mr. Prashant said.

Now, many express and passenger trains, including those running on the Konkan route, were forced to halt at Karakkad and Shoranur for up to 40 minutes to facilitate crossing of incoming trains, he said.

The electrification work north of Shornur was in full swing. The work up to Kozhikode would be completed by June next year, Dani Thomas, Chief Administrative Officer (Constructions), Southern Railway, Ernakulam, told The Hindu.

The work up to Mangalore would be over by 2015. This would save time lost on account of engine change, Deputy Chief Engineer V. K. Manoharan, in charge of electrification work from Kannur to Mangalore, said.

Railways could now think of revising the timings of important services passing through Shoranur, Mr. Thomas said.

At Shoranur, a new platform to accommodate 26 bogies and an engine lay-by would also come up, sources said.

Track-doubling work on the 307-km Shoranur-Mangalore stretch expected to get over by October 16.