Study finds semi-high-speed rail line feasible
Trains will move at 130-180 kmph to cover north-south rail corridor from Kochuveli to Kasaragod in four hours
A 531-km semi-high-speed railway line from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod to improve connectivity, reduce congestion in the State’s road network and make travel hassle-free has been found ‘feasible and financially viable’.
Also, dedicated railway lines to Thiruvananthapuram International Airport and Cochin International Airport with railway stations for inter-modal transport have been found feasible.
Semi-high-speed trains will move at 130-180 km per hour to cover the north-south rail corridor from Kochuveli to Kasaragod in four hours. Air-conditioned train sets on the lines of the newly introduced Train 18 have been proposed.
The semi-high-speed trains will halt at 10 stations — Kochuveli, Kollam, Chengannur, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Tirur, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod.
The third and fourth railway lines, traversing through 11 districts, except Alappuzha, Idukki and Wayanad, will be away from the existing railway line in the 300-km Thiruvananthapuram-Shoranur section. From Thirunavaya to Kasaragod, it will be parallel to the existing rail line with railway bypasses at Vadakara and Thalaserry.
Paris-based engineering and consulting group Systra, the general consultant of Kerala Railway Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL), the special purpose vehicle set up to execute ‘viable’ projects on a cost-sharing basis between the State and Railways, in its feasibility report has put the estimated cost at ₹56,000 crore, including cost of land acquisition.
The project has been found to be financially viable with a Rate of Return of 6% and the feasibility report needs the clearance of the KRDCL, the State government and Railways to move ahead, Transport Department officials told The Hindu on Monday.
The alignment fixed has been proposed through thinly populated areas to lessen displacement of people and only 1,200 hectares will have to be acquired.
In cities, the option of elevated lines has been mooted. For viaducts, 15 metres and for formation, 21 to 25 metres had been proposed.
Alignment has been proposed for laying railway line to the premier airport of the State and to Cochin International Airport.
Final location survey will have to be done as land from Railways and the Cochin airport (CIAL) is needed for laying the line and constructing station.
Though the rail line proposed is for a 200 km per hour speed, the trains will run at a maximum of 180 km per hour. The train sets with nine cars will be initially introduced and later will be extended to 12 and 15 cars. The coaches will be made of aluminium.
“It will be a green project tapping solar energy. As much as 21% of road traffic is to be shifted to rail and economic savings had been worked out to be 1.8 lakh metric tonnes of carbon,” sources said.
With the government announcing that work on the railway lines will begin in 2020, the works to prepare the Detailed Project Report has commenced. “The DPR will be ready in October”, sources said.