The Virudhunagar-Manamadurai gauge conversion project is expected to be completed by April.
S. Vijayakumaran, Chief Administrative Officer, Construction wing, Southern Railway, who inspected the 67-km broad gauge track from Manamadurai to Virudhunagar on Saturday, said that track laying had been completed and only finishing works remained, he told The Hindu after inspecting the works at Narikudi railway station.
New railway station buildings and platforms had been constructed at Narikudi, Tiruchuzhi and Aruppukottai. Five major bridges had been constructed under the project. Yard re-modelling work was under way at Virudhunagar railway junction for integrating the new broadgauge line, he said. The project cost had shot up from the estimated Rs. 175 crore when the work was taken up in 2008 to Rs. 250 crore now, Mr. Vijayakumaran said. The old road overbridge at Tiruchuzhi needed to be dismantled to make way for the new line. A new bridge had been constructed in its place.
Passenger trains could be operated on the new line only after clearance of the track by the Commissioner of Railway Safety, Mr. Vijayakumaran said.
The commissioning of the track would provide the shortest rail route between the southern and delta districts. Besides, it would also serve as an alternative route — via Manamadurai and Karaikudi — for the congested Virudhunagar-Madurai-Tiruchi line. It could ease the traffic on this line as goods traffic could be diverted to the new line, an official said.