Trivandrum: Kerala will get a special railway corridor along its 532-km length by 2024, as the State government is set to build a Rs 66,079-crore rail line that will enable semi-high speed trains ply between upstate Kasaragod and the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram.
A Cabinet meeting of the State’s ministers gave clearance to the implementation of the mega infrastructure project by the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL), a joint venture of Government of Kerala and Ministry of Railways.
The completion of the double line spanning 532 km is expected to reduce congestion along the state’s railway traffic that is already 115 per cent of its capacity, according to V Ajith Kumar, MD of KRDCL.
KRDCL will have to acquire about 1,200 hectares of land for the project that will have the rails elevated along urban stretches. The trains will run at a maximum speed of 200 km per hour. The travel charge is projected to be Rs 2.75 per km, and there will be an annual hike of 7.5 per cent, he added.
The cabinet approval comes a year after KRDCL initiated a preliminary feasibility study and found the project ‘viable’. Hereafter the feasibility report will be forwarded to Railway Ministry for their in-principle approval. In the meantime, KRDCL will be completing the preparation of DPR (Detailed Project Report) by around November 2019.
For meeting the expenses of the Rs 66,079-crore project, Rs 34,454 crore will come as loans. The Kerala government will spend Rs 8,656 crore on land acquisition and allied matters.
The Semi High-Speed Rail (SHSR) line is expected to reduce the journey time from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod from 12 hours to just four hours. The airports at Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi will be connected in the SHSR.
The rail line will pass through eleven of the State’s 14 districts, and will stop at 10 stations – Kollam, Chengannur, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Tirur, Kozhikode and Kannur before reaching Kasaragod.
Between Thiruvananthapuram and Tirur, the proposed project will pass by a stretch that is different from the existing railway line, since the existing Rail line has a large number of curves that limits the speed. From Tirur upward, the line will run parallel to the existing track up till Kasaragod.
Kerala Biz News