Second train tunnel at Kulashekara in Mangaluru to be commissioned by March

The second tunnel at Kulashekara on Mangaluru-Mumbai line, which will be commissioned in March 2022.
Anil Kumar SastryJanuary 27, 2022 18:06 IST
Updated: January 28, 2022 10:04 IST

The tunnel is part of a line doubling project on Mangaluru Jn.-Panambur section

Southern Railway is confident of opening the second tunnel at Kulashekara on the Mangaluru-Panambur section of the Mumbai railway line by March. The commissioning of the second tunnel will also complete line doubling between Mangaluru Junction and Panambur stations.

The then Railway Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda had announced line doubling between Mangaluru Junction and Surathkal in the 2014 Railway Budget. The work was included in the line doubling project of Shoranur-Mangaluru-Panambur. However, work got substantially delayed due to various reasons, including difficult terrain, change of the contractor, and land slips.

Palakkad Divisional Railway Manager Trilok Kothari told

The Hindu that tunnelling work is complete. Work on laying the track on the 600-odd-metre stretch would start in the first week of February and will be completed in a fortnight. Drawing overhead power lines and communication lines would be done simultaneously.

Completion of track doubling on Mangaluru-Jokatte-Panambur stretch is expected to reduce congestion at Mangaluru Junction, but the Railways intends to use both the tunnels only by May this year. Mr. Kothari said that the existing tunnel needs to undergo thorough maintenance and would be closed for traffic once the second tunnel is commissioned. At present, closure of the existing tunnel is not possible because of the heavy train traffic.

Mr. Kothari said once both tunnels are operational, hopefully by May, congestion at Mangaluru Junction is expected to reduce by 20%. It would facilitate easy and faster dispatch of trains between the north and the south.

Built below Mangaluru-Karkala-Solapur National Highway 169, the tunnels at Kulashekara were a vital part of the Mumbai line. The line has a branch at Jokatte heading towards Panambur. They have been a critical connectivity component serving New Mangalore Port, Baikampady Industrial Area, MRPL and other major industries located in north Mangaluru. Of the 21-km line between Mangaluru Junction and Panambur, about 17 km is already doubled while a 4-km stretch, including the 600-metre tunnel, is under single-line operation.

The construction wing of the Southern Railway was executing the tunnelling work, that was part of the line doubling project. Another bottleneck on the stretch, road over bridge on Bondel-Vamanjoor Road, was recently cleared with the commissioning of a longer bridge to accommodate the double-line track beneath.

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