THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a major decision, the state government has decided to wind up operations of the Kerala High-Speed Rail Corporation which has been entrusted with the task of the high speed rail corridor project connecting Thiruvananthapuram and Kannur. Instead, the focus will be on the semi high-speed rail project, connecting the state capital with Kasargod.
The Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the semi high speed rail project is currently in preparation stage and is expected to be completed in six months. The 510-km-long third and fourth rail lines for semi high speed rail corridor project are also known as semi high speed corridor. The railways plan to operate semi-high-speed trains, which travel at a speed of 150-200 km per hour, through this corridor. Paris-headquartered company Systra has been assigned by the Kerala Railway Development Corporation Ltd (KRDCL), to prepare the DPR of the project.
The rail project will be funded by a Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA). A senior official of KRDCL informed the Central Government has included the project in JICA overseas development assistance (ODA) rolling plan.
The firm has also been asked to prepare the initial design and financial model, among other aspects such as internal rate of return, for laying the 510-km line. The DPR is being prepared in two different stages. “The internal rate of the project has been estimated to be up to Rs 46,000 crore. The feasibility report is expected to be submitted by the end of February and the DPR is expected by June or July,” said V Ajith Kumar, MD of KRDCL.
For its implementation, a third and fourth rail line should be established. The major hurdle identified in the existing first and second line was the high curvatures on the tracks due to which the maximum speed here has been limited to 45 to 50 kilometre/hour (Km/h). The major challenge will be to identify the land to construct the three and four rail lines so as to increase the speed with maximum reduce curvature.
The total completion of the project will take about 5 to 7 years. But if the corporation will implement it in different phases similar to that of the KMRL, then we can speed up the project. Chances of going for underground rail tracks are lesser as it is expensive and one of the major reason for high cost of high-speed rail project was that, it had planned several underground tracks, said a KRDCL official.