Second railway line from Madurai to Chennai ready

A train travel from Madurai to Chennai via the chord line will be a different experience hereafter.

For, no train in this 450-km stretch will halt even for a minute for a crossing. It has become possible thanks to the completion of Villupuram-Madurai track doubling project that got over with the speed trial held on the last stretch of newly laid broadgauge line between Tamirapadi and Kalpattichatram in Dindigul district on Wednesday.

Commissioner of Railway Safety (Southern Circle), K.A. Manoharan, along with senior officials of Madurai Division, Railway Construction (Chennai) and Rail Vikas Nigam Limited, that executed the project, conducted the speed trial on Wednesday.

L. Sudhakar Rao, Chief Administrative Officer (Construction, Chennai), said the project to lay a second BG line for 273 km between Villupuram-Madurai had been completed in seven years. “No such big project has been completed in seven years. Normally, it would take at least 20 years,” the Executive Director (Projects), RVNL, Pradeep Gaur, told The Hindu .

Stating that the Ministry of Railways created RVNL to expedite mega projects, Mr. Gaur said that RVNL had met the objective in a highly cost-effective manner.

The project cost, estimated at Rs. 12,000 crore in 2010, has been completed with around Rs. 15,000 crore.

“One reason for cost effectiveness was quick execution of the work.”

The project involved construction of 50 major bridges and 600 minor bridges and electrification of the entire stretch.

“Two longest bridges have come up near Tiruchi - one across the Kollidam (870 metres) and other across the Cauvery (600 metres).

With no crossing of trains, the travel time would be less.

The effect of trains getting delayed due to late running of a train will not take place. The line capacity would be tripled as many trains could be operated one after the other within a short gap. The additional capacity would pave the way for introduction of more trains.

The Chennai-Kanniyakumari section being the highest passenger revenue-generating corridor in the entire Southern Railway, the focus shifts to down Madurai.

The railways have planned to provide double line between Madurai and Thoothukudi, Vanchi Maniyachi and Nagercoil. The work for 20 major bridges in Madurai-Thoothukudi section has started. The work to finalise tender is under way, he said.

The Divisional Railway Manager, Neenu Ittyerah, General Manager (RVNL), D.R. Naidu, and Chief Engineer (Construction), Masthan Rao, were present.