The Railways is probing the feasibility of laying a third rail (to source power) parallel to the track that leads to Harbour Terminus Station from the city, since the Navy had raised concerns of overhead power lines posing a threat to the safety of aircraft that took off from the Naval airport.
Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) has been asked to probe the feasibility of laying a third-traction rail to source power (by fixing power lines on the side of the rails) in order to extend trains that terminate trips at Ernakulam Junction station to the heritage station located on Willingdon Island, it is learnt.
The Harbour Terminus station had been renovated over five years ago, in order to resume train services from the city. But the hassles associated with laying overhead power lines and the inability to build an overbridge at Vathuruthy, to do away with level crossing in the area, led to the proposal being kept in abeyance.
Diverting a few trains from Ernakulam Junction to Harbour Terminus will in turn decongest the station and also help introduce new trains from the city. The terminus has in its vicinity an eight-track yard, a goods shed and two platforms. All this has been lying underutilised due to trains not calling at the station for well over a decade, Railway sources said.
They added that two other proposals, to build an integrated coaching terminal at a 100-acre yard owned by Railway in the Ponnurunni-Kathrikadavu area and another to renovate the Old Railway Station located behind the High Court, could wait till the project to extend trains to the Terminus is realised. This is because the Terminus already has road access, unlike the 100-acre yard.
An alternative to laying third track to source power would be to change the electric engine of trains to diesel, for transit to Harbour Terminus. The problem is that the shunting process would incur a delay of 30 minutes, while the train would have to be parked at the platform for this duration.