TIRUNELVELI: After a gap of eight years, a special fare train, connecting Tambaram (Chennai) and Kollam in Kerala, traversed the recently converted (metre gauge to broad) railway stretch between Sengottai and Punalur on Saturday.
The 112-year-old Sengottai-Punalur metre gauge section was one among the various railroad stretches, including Tirunelveli-Tiruchendur, and Tenkasi-Tirunelveli, dismantled in 2010 for gauge conversion. Considered as one of the most scenic railway routes in the country, the stretch was the sole gateway between Kerala and Tamil Nadu through Tirunelveli.
Sources said that though sections such as Sengottai-Tirunelveli, Kollam-Punalur were completed and already opened for public use, the conversion works of Sengottai-Punalur was delayed owing to the unique topographical challenges it posed. The route goes through hills, caves and also passes through an iconic century-old 13-arch bridge in Thenmala
As the Commissioner of Rail Safety recently cleared the section for traffic, a special fare train departed from Tambaram on Friday evening and reached Sengottai on Saturday morning.