MADURAI: The Madurai-Dindigul track doubling work will be completed by March 31, Minister of State for Railways R. Velu said on Wednesday.
The construction of a bridge across the Vaigai here, the most critical part of the project, was expected to be completed by March 31. Mr. Velu inspected the project work up to Kodaikanal Road.
He said at present track utilisation on the 63-km stretch was around 175 per cent. The gauge conversion work was expected to ease rail traffic congestion.
The Union Planning Commission had rejected the proposal for doubling the line between Villupuram and Tuticorin, terming it “non-viable.” It had pointed out that the mainline (via Chidambaram, Karaikudi) was serving as a second line for the Chennai-Virudhunagar section.
“When we insisted that people preferred to travel only on the shortest route, the Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission advised us to seek State Government’s contribution for the project,” he said.
The 272-km Villupuram-Madurai-Tuticorin section was the “lifeline” of the southern districts. If this was doubled, “we can operate any number of trains on the route.” MPs from Tamil Nadu would press the Centre for the Rs.822-crore project.
The Minister asked Divisional Railway Manager Hemant Kumar to augment coaches in the Tuticorin-Mysore Express according to passenger patronage. He said lack of rakes had delayed the introduction of the Coimbatore-Nagercoil night train service announced in the railway budget.
Madurai MP P. Mohan was present.