KOCHIi: With Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda calling a meeting of MPs on August 12, there is a demand from various quarters to improve the basic rail infrastructure in the State.
Apart from the demand to introduce new trains, there is a call for the conversion of the Absolute Block System being used in Kerala to Automatic Signaling System, which will help improve the movement of trains.
Lakshadweep MP P P Mohammed Faisal said that he had asked the Railway Minister to consider starting a submarine rail service from Kerala to the Lakshadweep main island.”
“Such engineering marvels have taken place in the other parts of the world. The distance between Kochi and the Lakshadweep is 300 km, and it is quite possible to introduce submarine rail service. I will push for the project as it would be the easiest means of transport for the Islanders, who are currently left with no other option but to travel by ship,” he added.
According to former MP P C Chacko, automatic signaling system is the need of the hour. “The first phase of the automatic signaling system could be introduced on the Coimbatore-Ernakulam route,” he said.
Meanwhile, there are calls to expedite the doubling of the Ernakulam-Kayamkulam line, via Kottayam and Allapuzha. Also, the Shoranur-Mangalore line should be electrified immediately.
Facilities at railway terminals in the State should be developed, and the existing Kochuveli Terminus should be revamped. New coaching terminals should be built in Nemom and Kottayam. Also, new pit lines and stabling lines should be introduced in various stations.
Step should be taken to commence work on the coach factory at Palakkad and the wagon unit at Cherthala, which continue to remain on paper.
Gauge conversion of the Palakkad-Pollachi line and the Punalur-Sengottai line should be completed.
More MEMU and short-distance trains should be introduced, especially in the wake of the Railways deciding to reduce the number of stops for the express trains running in the State.
There is also a call to start an intercity service between Ernakulam and Salem. The train would be of great help to the public if it leaves Ernakulam at 4.30 am on all days so as to reach Coimbatore by 9.30 am, and to reach Salem by 12.30 pm. As per the proposal, the return trip is to start from Salem at 2.30 am, to reach Coimbatore by 5.30 pm, and to terminate in Ernakulam by 10.30 pm. There are also demands to operate the Bengaluru-Mangalore daily express service via Coimbatore and Palakkad.