Hopes Rekindle for Old Railway Station Revival
By Princy Alexander | Published: 25th December 2013 09:31 AM |
On the eve of Christmas, hopes have rekindled for the much-touted proposal for reviving the Old Railway Station in Kochi. It looks like the project will get a lease of life with top officials of the Southern Railway having decided to seek the state government’s assistance on reviving the project.
The new decision comes in the wake of the General Manager Rakesh Misra’s visit to the station on Monday evening.
According to sources, the General Manager has come to a conclusion that it was possible to renew the movement of trains through the station on a small scale. Moreover, the vacant railway land, near the High Court, may be handed over for other causes which would put the Railways in a fix as they may have approach the Supreme Court in order to retrieve it.
The Railway sources said that the project can be started on a small scale initially and depending on the demand it can be extended in phases over a period of time.
The move comes as a surprise as the General Manager on his previous visit to the station premises had said that the project was far from feasible.
According to sources, the Southern Railway General Manager himself on Monday decided to write to Kerala Chief Secretary E K Bharat Bhushan seeking the state government’s assistance in reviving the Old Railway Station.
The Thiruvananthapuram Divisional Railway Manager and the Chief Administrative Officer were present with the General Manager during the visit.
After the site visit, it was concluded that movement of trains such as the 10 to 12 coach passenger trains could arrive and depart from the station. Only the encroachers on the railway tracks have to be evicted for the purpose. Also, there is no need to cut down any trees, only the branches have to be trimmed for the movement of trains. “For light traffic, the existing single line would be sufficient and no land acquisition would be required,” officials said.
The total cost of reviving the station in a skeletal form would be less than `10 crore. The Thiruvananthapuram Division had earlier submitted a proposal to revive the station for `100 crore. As the General Manager had not seen the site earlier, he had said that the total station revival would cost more than Rs 1,000 crore.
Railway officials pointed out that it was not possible to revive the station into a fully-fledged terminal immediately. “If the station has to be completely revived into a terminating hub, it is necessary to have a double track between the station and Pachalam. Also, a shunting track is a must, as incoming trains have to be reversed and so on.
If the shunting works are carried out on the available single track, it will badly affect the movement of trains. As of now, only a few trains in the morning and evening hours would arrive and depart at the station. This ispossible even without a shunting neck,” officials said.
According to plans, the General Manager will seek the assistance of the stategovernment to revive the project. “To evict the encroachers, the government should take the initiative to rehabilitate them.
Also, if the state government is willing to provide financial assistance, the project can be kicked off at the earliest,” Railway officials said.