TAMIL NADU

More proposals for doubling, electrification of rail lines

Staff Reporter

Southern Railway passenger, cargo earnings up

Coimbatore: Southern Railway, besides completing ongoing works on time, has mooted more proposals for doubling and electrification of a number of sections, General Manager Thomas Varghese said on Tuesday.

He was talking to reporters along with Divisional Railway Manager A.K. Harit after inaugurating an outdoor train information display board and a cyber cafe at the Coimbatore Junction.

Doubling works

The line laying and doubling works between Tiruchirapalli - Pudukottai and Madurai - Manamadurai - Rameshwaram sections would be completed by March-end. The works between Pudukottai - Karaikkudi would also be expedited.

Works on the Salem - Attur - Vridhachalam and Thiruvarur - Nagapattinam line would be completed by July. Though the rate of return on investments was found to be poor in a recent survey, a proposal for a 33-km new railway line between Thiruvarur to Thiruthuraipoondi via Nagapattinam and Velankanni at Rs. 90 crore under the backward areas development scheme had been forwarded to the railway board, he said.

The doubling of the Chengulpet - Villupuram section at Rs. 100 crore and the electrification of the Villuppuram - Tiruchirapalli sections were in progress. A proposal for Rs. 2,500 crore had been sent to the Board for the doubling and electrification of the Villuppuram - Tuticorin section.

A proposal for electrifying the 30 km section between Thrissur and Guruvayoor and the 78 km section between Kanyakumari and Tiruvananthapuram had been mooted and "sanctions are expected" in the next budget, he said.

Contractual failures delayed the doubling of the railway line between Shoranur - Mangalore section due to steep hike in price of cement and steel. The work would be completed in June. Given the increasing incidents of such contract failures, the railway board had been requested for permitting an increase in rates up to a certain percentage in the event of material costs going up, he said.

Revenue

The passenger earnings of Southern Railway during the year 2005-06 was Rs. 1,850 crore. It had gone up by 15 per cent between April and November 2006 to Rs. 2,140 crore. Despite speculations about the Railways losing out on passenger patronage after the entry of low cost airlines, the passenger traffic increased by 12 per cent, serving 373 million passengers, between April and November 2006 as against the 331 million in 2005-06.

Similarly, Southern Railway had surpassed the target in freight traffic by lifting 19.2 million tonnes as against the 16.9 million during the previous year. "These figures are expected to go up in the statistics pertaining to the last four months of the current fiscal", he added.

Level Crossing

Accidents at unmanned level crossings were a major concern. Southern Railway had 1,300 unmanned level crossings. Manning a level crossing could be done based on certain norms such as trains and vehicles per level crossing.

Under such norms only 208 level crossings qualified for gatekeepers. In the first phase 60 level crossings would be manned. The Railways was planning limited use of subways for smaller vehicles to pass.

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