Rail link to Vallarpadam opened

Futuristic:The rail connectivity to Vallarpadam Container Transhipment Terminal has been announced by Rail Vikas Nigam Limited. The trial run was held on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: —Photo: Vipin Chandran

Staff Reporter

Work on the two-lane road connectivity progressing fast

KOCHI: The arrival of rail connectivity to Vallarpadam International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT) was announced on Wednesday to an eager crowd that had gathered along the new rail line to watch the trial run and welcome the first engine carrying officials of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited, Cochin Port Trust and other dignitaries including the District Collector Dr. M. Beena.

“We would like to announce the arrival of rail connectivity to ICTT Vallarpadam,” said an ecstatic Joint General Manager of RVNL Kesava Chandran, who along with his colleagues oversaw the massive work on the 8.86-km rail line that involved building India's longest rail bridge (4.62 km) over the Vembanad lake and a string of small islands off the coast of Kochi.

Port Trust Chairman N. Ramachandran said with rail line in place and road connectivity project in full steam he expected a soft launch of ICTT, being projected as India's future marine cargo hub, in June.

The establishment of the rail link came against heavy odds, weathered court cases and engineering challenges and cost Rs.350 crore in the making. Work on the rail link, at the heart of the ambitious ICTT project, began in June 2007.

Besides India's longest railway bridge, there are four smaller bridges, built on 1.2 diameter piles driven to an average depth of 55 metres. The pile length totalled 65,000 metres.

A total of 11,700 tonnes of reinforced steel, 58,000 tonnes of cement, 99,000 cubic metre of metal aggregates, 73,500 cubic metre of sand, 1,27,000 cubic metre of concrete work and 1,54,308 cubic metre of earth work went into the project.

RVNL was constituted as a special purpose vehicle under the Ministry of Railways to implement the rail link project between Edappally Railway Station and Vallarpadam project site.

Total acquisition was to the tune of 12.5 hectare, including government, Railways and Cochin Port Trust lands.

Meanwhile, work on the two-lane road connectivity to Vallarpadam, being built by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), is progressing fast. The work, the revised cost of which is Rs.872 crore, stands 84 per cent completed as on March 30.

Capital dredging work to provide 14.5-metre depth for 8,000 plus TEU vessels by Cochin Port Trust is in progress. The dredging work commenced in December 2008 and as of now its physical progress is 62 per cent.