The ongoing broad gauge conversion works on the Thiruthuraipoondi - Agasthiyampalli section falling under the limits of the Tiruchi Railway Division are on the verge of completion.
A new broad gauge track has been laid on the 37-km-stretch from Thiruthuraipoondi to Agasthiyampalli, situated near the coastal area, with ballasting and machine tamping works currently under way. Other related works associated with the gauge conversion project are also proceeding in full swing to complete them in the coming days.
As part of the project, 79 minor bridges have been constructed along the section. Construction of four road over bridges were also over, said a senior railway official. The Southern Railway Construction Organisation was entrusted with the task of executing the gauge conversion project from Thiruthuraipoondi to Agasthiyampalli where a metre gauge track existed earlier. The section has Kariyapattinam, Kuruvapalam, Thopputhurai and Vedaranyam stations enroute.
Senior railway officials said that the gauge conversion project including the signalling works have reached the final stage of completion along this non-electrified stretch. Once completed, the broad gauge section would be subjected to mandatory inspection by the Commissioner of Railway Safety, Southern Circle, Bengaluru.
Only after obtaining statutory clearance from the Commissioner of Railway Safety that the section would be thrown open to passenger and freight traffic yet again, say the officials. Once cleared by the Commissioner of Railway Safety, the section is poised to witness loading of salt from Agasthiyampalli yet again after a gap of several years.
The resumption of train services after a long gap in this section would immensely benefit people staying in the remote and underdeveloped places along the stretch, says D. Manoharan, a former office-bearer of the Dakshin Railway Employees Union.