Survey for laying third track in Ernakulam-Shoranur rail corridor begins

Track to skip curves for speed of up to 130 kmph

Even as the State government says there is no going back on the ₹63,941-crore SilverLine rail corridor, a survey is under way to lay a dedicated third track in the 107-km Ernakulam-Shoranur corridor to cater for express and goods trains, a project which had been mentioned in the Railway budget.

A detailed project report based on the survey will be submitted to the Railway Board for its approval later this year.

Trains would be able to travel at up to 130 kmph along the new track, in comparison with the maximum existing speed of 110 kmph (but average speed still hovers at 45 kmph) on select stretches in the State. The project, which is currently estimated to cost ₹1,500 crore, could cost anything up to ₹5,000 crore depending on the outcome of the survey which would help fix an alignment. The alignment will be located 50 m to 100 m away from the alignment of the existing tracks in places where there are steep curves. This would considerably flatten the curves. The Railway might also have to acquire the leftover land between new and old tracks in such places, informed sources said.

The new track will ensure much faster commute since it will link minimal number of railway stations. This may even mean skipping a few major railway stations that are located away from the corridor. Each stop slows down the speed of trains by around 15 minutes, the time taken for acceleration and deceleration.

Once realised, it is expected that trains like Rajdhani Express, Duronto Express and Jansatabdhi Express, which have limited number of stops, would be routed through the new track, it is learnt.

More corridors

The Railway would commence survey of the Kayamkulam-Thiruvananthapuram and the Shoranur-Mangaluru/Palakkad corridors to lay third track soon after. There would be little need for third tracks through Kottayam and Alappuzha in the foreseeable future since track doubling through the stretches is set to get over by March this year and March 2024 respectively, sources said.

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