Train running in Kerala. Mathrubhumi file photo for representation.
Thrissur: Indian Railways is reportedly speeding up the process to set up a much faster third line in selected stretches in Kerala at a time when it nears the completion of the doubling of the track.
The new line from Ernakulam-Shoranur will have trains running at 160kmph.
Though initially a 130km-speed line was proposed, the suggestions for 160 km-speed track came after the survey for finding the path. The 82 km-long new track from Ambalapuzha to Ernakulam will also be constructed as a 160 km speedway. Completing both projects will enable trains to travel at 160 km/h in 189 km of the track, which is one sixth of the total length of the rail line in the state.
The current average speed on Kerala's rails is 85-90km, and it's impossible to travel at more than 100km/h. In the recent Chennai meeting, Railways decided to increase the speed in Kerala to 130km/h.
The project is part of Railway's policy to increase the speed of trains to 160kms on busy routes in the country. Construction is underway to make the Mumbai-Delhi and Delhi-Howrah routes suitable for trains to travel at 160km speed.
Curves in the tracks and old signalling system are the hurdles in improving the speed in Kerala.
The track doubling work from Chingavanam to Ettumanoor along the existing line, initiated two decades ago, was completed only last month.
Trains will travel both sides in the third line.
250 hectares of land (subject to variations based on final report) will be required additionally to build the 107 km-long Ernakulam-Shoranur track. Land acquisition is required to skip the existing curves
The assumed expenditure for the 130km-speed track is Rs 4,000 cr. It will be more for a higher speed track. Final expenditure will only be available after the survey.
Even though it's mentioned that the third line will be parallel to the existing one, some stations will be removed to avoid turns. Ernakulam Junction, Ernakulam Town, Aluva, Angamali, Thrissur and Shoranur stations will be included in the new track.
The final survey is expected to be completed within four months.