Enhancing train speed not easy in Kerala: Sreedharan

Amidst reports that the Centre is planning to upgrade the rail network in the State to facilitate the movement of trains at 130 km/hr in the first phase and then at 160 km/hr, by straightening curves and drawing a third line between Ernakulam and Shoranur, technocrat E. Sreedharan has said that enhancing speed of trains to that extent will not be an easy task in Kerala.

Installing automatic signalling in the rail network is the immediate need of the hour in Kerala, which will allow the authorities to enhance the speed of trains by around 10-15% and introduce around 20-25 more trains on the existing tracks. Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Sreedharan said he had suggested upgrading the signalling system which the Southern Railway authorities had accepted.

‘Practical difficulties’

“The proposal to increase the speed of trains to 160 km/hr is not practical in Kerala. For running trains at that speed, a boundary wall has to be constructed on both sides of the track, apart from straightening all curves, which is an imperative for even increasing the speed to 130 km/hr,” said Mr. Sreedharan. Further, a detailed study was required to increase the speed, which would take at least two years. On the other hand, introducing automatic signalling would help Railways enhance the speed of trains by spending around ₹6,500 crore. “This will also attract more people, who currently opt for bus for inter-district travel, to trains,” the technocrat said.

High-speed rail

On being asked whether Kerala really needed high or semi-high-speed rail, he said the geographical terrain of Kerala demanded high-speed rail. The semi-high-speed rail project, SilverLine, proposed by the State lacked clarity and vision in many respects, including its alignment. “It’s not an issue of gauge, which is not a big deal, as in almost all cities, the high-speed railway is on standard gauge. The project should be a part of the Indian rail network for better returns. In future, we can interlink the high-speed rail developed across the cities to facilitate high-speed travel across the country,” said Mr. Sreedharan.

The high-speed rail project suggested by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) during the term of the last United Democratic Front (UDF) government could be revived or modified. But it will also take time. The revised study will take at least two years and implementation will take 10-12 years, he said.

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Printable version | Aug 14, 2022 7:10:21 pm |