CHENNAI: Just within a year of making an ambitious announcement to eliminate all level crossing gates, the Ministry of Railways has now decided to not go ahead with the decision. Reason: crippling fund crunch. The move has come days ahead of a crucial board meeting in Delhi to expedite ongoing railway projects.
It has been decided that railway projects — both under execution and under consideration — with less than 10 per cent rate of return will continue to have level crossing gates instead of rail-bridges. The decision was disclosed to Rail Vikas Nigam (RVNL) Limited on Thursday. The decision, it was said, was taken as project costs were increasing substantially.
The main reason for cost to shoot up is acquisition of lands for construction of bridges. “Many new line projects are not remunerative. The land cost itself constitutes 30-50 per cent of the project cost,” said the railway board order. According to official records, presently over 245 projects are being executed across the country. Among them are doubling and electrification projects in Madurai-Vanchi Maniyachi - Tuticorin (160 km), Vanchi Maniyachi-Tirunelveli-Nagercoil (102 km) and Kanniyakumari-Nagercoil-Thiruvananthapuram (86.56 km).
The new line projects approved are Madurai-Tuticorin via Aruppukkottai (143.5 km), Tindivanam-Gingee-Tiruvannamalai (70 km), Tindivanam-Nagari (179.2 km) and Chennai-Cuddalore via Mahabalipuram. Gauge conversion is going on in the 90.41-km Madurai-Bodinayakkanur route.
Changes in train operation
Chennai: In view of non-interlocking works at Mysore railway station, railways has made changes in train operations between June 16 and 23. Some trains, like the Chennai Central-Mysore Express, journey commencing on June 16 and 23, will be affected. It is partially cancelled between Pandavapura-Mysore. The train will run from Chennai to Padavapura. The Mysore-Central Express, journey commencing on June 17 and 24, will leave from Pandavapura to Chennai