Journeys through Kottayam rail tunnels built by E Sreedharan to end soon
Kottayam: When the track doubling work at Kottayam will finally fructify, passengers through Kottayam will have to forego the nostalgic journey through Kerala's only tunnel railway track at Kottayam.
The railway tunnels were built by ‘Metro man’ E Sreedharan during the early years of his career in 1955-56 at Kottayam. With the land acquisition and other formalities being completed, these tunnels will, in future, be used only for shunting as passenger traffic will be rediverted to the new tracks.
The two tunnels are part of the 1952 Kochi-Kollam railway line which was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The Kochi- Kottayam stretch opened to services in October, 1956 and the Kottayam- Kollam stretch was commissioned in 1958.
The two tunnels, measuring 84 and 65 metres each, are situated between the Chingavanam and Kottayam stations. The initial plan to build another tunnel was dropped after the topography was found unsuitable. Earth will be removed for one kilometer and railway over bridges will come up above the proposed new double track. The work on the track doubling process is expected to begin in 2019.
At present, the 36-kilometre stretch is left for doubling at Kottayam. The double lane from Thiruvananthapuram ends at Changanassery and restarts from Kuruppunthara.