The Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS), Southern Circle, S.K. Mittal, inspected the broad gauge line between Mayiladuthurai and Tiruvarur on Thursday.
Speaking to media persons after the inspection, Mr. Mittal expressed his satisfaction over the works undertaken. “I have collected data to analyse and will not take much time to give clearance,” he said. The day-long inspection commenced here at 9 a.m. with Mr. Mittal inspecting the line on a trolley up to Tiruvarur. He got down at various places en route and inspected the track, major and minor bridges, level crossings, signalling systems and equipment, ballast, electrical systems, safety equipment, points, crossing, formation, preparedness for safety, gate lodges, stations, and passenger amenities at stations.
The trolley inspection which was completed at 4 p.m. was followed by a high-speed trial run till Mayiladuthurai. The three-coach rake which was hauled by an EMD locomotive touched speeds of up to 112 kilometres per hour, said Mr. Mittal.
There is still some residual work which needs to be completed and the maximum permissible speed on the line would be announced later, he added.
The Mayiladuthurai-Tiruvarur line was closed in 2007 for gauge conversion. The project has been completed at a cost of Rs.204 crore. The 38-kilometre line facilitates a shorter route to Tiruvarur as compared to the 124-kilometre circuitous route via Thanjavur. “The line will help reduce travel time greatly apart from fare burden which travellers face now. It will also bring down operational costs for the railways too,” said P. V. Vaidialingam, Divisional Railway Manager, Tiruchi, who accompanied Mr. Mittal during the inspection. Trains which would be diverted through this line would be decided once the CRS gives his nod, he added.
The stations on the line — Manganallur, Poonthottam (both halt stations) and Peralam, Nannilam (block stations) — have got new buildings and amenities, including drinking water, pay-and-use toilets, waiting halls, foot over-bridges and booking counters as part of the project. The section accounts for 16 major bridges, 200 minor bridges, 21 manned level crossings and seven unmanned level crossings.
S. Vijayakumaran, Chief Administrative Officer, Construction, Southern Railway; S. A. Abdul Rahman, Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Tiruchi; and divisional engineers from departments including construction, signalling, civil, operating and electrical, were present.
The works form part of the Mayiladuthurai-Tiruvarur-Thiruthuraipoondi-Karaikudi gauge conversion project.