S. Vydhianathan

CHENNAI: Six gauge conversion works in Southern Railway have been targeted for early completion. They are Katpadi-Vellore, Karaikudi-Manamadurai, Tiruvarur-Nagore, Quilon-Punalur, Dindigul-Kodai Road and Tirunelveli-Tiruchendur.

All these projects are nearing completion and they will be opened for passenger traffic in the next four months, according to a senior Southern Railway official here. Of these, conversion of the Tirunelveli-Tiruchendur line was over and the Commissioner of Railway Safety would soon inspect the new BG line for safety clearance.

Similarly, conversion of Dindigul-Kodai Road MG (22 km) would be completed by this month-end and the conversion of Kodai Road to Madurai section, including Vaigai bridge, would be over by June this year. About the Salem-Karur new BG line (85 km), the official said the target date was March 31, 2010. The work involved construction of a number of road over/under bridges as there were a number of road crossings in the alignment. On an average, there was one ROB/RUB per km in the stretch.

The official said the administration decided to go for mega tenders for executing the Rs 1,300 crore Chengalpattu-Villupuram-Dindigul doubling work. According to him, it would take at least three years to complete the doubling work. Referring to suburban projects, the official said the third line from Korukkupet to Ennore would be ready by this month-end and the third line from Tiruvallur to Arakkonam by July this year. Meanwhile, Southern Railway has finalised the estimate for the gauge conversion work between Punalur and Shenkottai, part of the Virudhunagar-Quilon conversion project and the same had been sent to the Railway Board for approval. The project had been delayed due to difficulty in converting the Punalur-Shenkottai ghat section where there were five tunnels in between.