Gauge conversion to be completed before year-end

S. Vydhianathan

On 122-km Villupuram-Thanjavur section

CHENNAI: Gauge conversion on the Villupuram-Mayiladuthurai (122 km) section will be completed before the year-end.

This section is part of the Villupuram-Thanjavur conversion project. The stretch between Thanjavur and Mayiladuthurai has been completed and opened for passenger traffic.

Once conversion between Mayiladuthurai and Villupuram is over, trains can be operated from Chennai Egmore to the south via the main line i.e Villupuram, Kumbakonam and Thanjavur, which has remained suspended for more than three years.

It will provide an alternative route to Tiruchi from Chennai Egmore.

The project is being executed by the Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL), a corporation formed by the Railway Ministry for speedy execution of railway projects.

Pradeep Gour, project manager, RVNL, told The Hindu that except the stretch from Cuddalore to Sirkazhi (56km) conversion of the remaining two sections – Villupuram-Cuddalore (46 km) and Sirkazhi-Mayiladuthuri (20 km) – is almost complete. While trial runs are on between Sirkazhi and Mayiladuthurai since March 31, the section from Villupuram to Cuddalore will be completed by July this year.

RVNL wants to complete the remaining portion, between Cuddalore and Sirkazhi, before the onset of northeast monsoon.

Work on bridges

He said there were 32 major bridges and 290 minor bridges on the 122-km stretch. Of these, construction of 210 bridges was almost over. Of the remaining 80 bridges, the sub-structure work (erecting pillars) had been completed and super structure work (placing pre-fabricated girders on pillars) was on. In the case of major bridges, the sub-structure had been completed in a majority of the structures.

Bridge work across the Coleroon was going on. Earlier, RVNL planned to put up pile foundation. But it was not feasible as there were boulders beneath the soil in some places. In those areas, the corporation switched to well foundation.

The project manager said they wanted to complete the entire bridge works before the release of water from the Mettur reservoir for delta irrigation when all channels would have heavy flow.

Another problem, according to him, was the non-availability of steel and cement and the increase in their prices.

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