The newly laid 85 kilometre Salem-Karur broad gauge railway line was tested for speed traffic on Thursday.
A team of senior officials from the Railways, led by its Chief Engineer, Southern Railway, Chennai, A. K. Kandelwal and Deputy Construction Engineer, Construction Section, Salem Railway Division, R. Nandakumar, carried out the inspection on the track with a composition of three units including a locomotive and two coaches.
“The track testing including ballast formation, signals etc were carried out at a speed between 110 kilometres and 130 kilometres. We reached Namakkal station in 35 minutes and Karur in just an hour,” said an official.
Prior to that, a trolley inspection on the track was also carried out. The entire operation, according to officials, was successful. The train was operated at the speed of 60 kilometre last month
The high speed trial is a prelude to the detailed inspection to be carried out by Chief Safety Commissioner from February 25 to 27.
“After his inspection and certification, passenger traffic will be inaugurated on the sector,” said a senior official in Salem Railway Division.
The much-delayed project, costing around Rs 690 crore, began in 1997-98. It was delayed due to bottlenecks in land alienation in Salem and Namakkal districts.
“The Railways had to spend nearly Rs 200 crore for lands alone,” said the official, adding. Freight traffic is on in the track.
Staff Reporter adds from Namakkal: The trial of the Salem-Karur broad gauge rail route through Namakkal, on Thursday, has increased people’s hope of getting its first passenger and express rail service to this district soon”, said R. Kumarasamy of Namakkal.
He was among the many who gathered on either side of the track to see the train speed past. Congress cadre distributed sweets to people who came to the station to see the train.
Three months ago, goods train service was launched on this route and people were optimistic that passenger trains service will be launched in a few days.
The train reached Namakkal around 9.55 a.m. and stopped there for two minutes before it headed to Karur.
Hundreds thronged the railway over bridges on the Senthamangalam Road, Thuraiyur Road and Tiruchi Road through which the train entered and left Namakkal Town.
There was equal enthusiasm among people living in the rural localities as well.