THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala will get a special railway corridor along its 532-km length by 2024. It is set to build a Rs 66,079-crore rail line that will enable semi high-speed trains ply between Kasaragod and Thiruvananthapuram. The Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the mega infrastructure project by the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL), a joint venture between the state government and Railway Ministry.
“The completion of the double line spanning 532 km is expected to reduce congestion along the state’s railway traffic,” said KRDCL MD V Ajith Kumar. KRDCL will have to acquire about 1,200 hectares of land for the project. The trains will run at a maximum speed of 200 km per hour. The travel charge is projected to be Rs 2.75 per km, and there will be an annual hike of 7.5 per cent, Kumar said.
KRDCL expects a ridership of 67,740 passengers a day. The feasibility report approved by the cabinet will be forwarded to Railway Ministry for its in-principle nod. In the meantime, KRDCL will prepare DPR (Detailed Project Report) by November. For meeting the project’s expenses, Rs 34,454 crore will come as loans. The Centre and state will need to provide Rs 7,720 crore each.
The state government will spend Rs 8,656 crore on land acquisition and allied matters. The rest of the expenses will be met through other loans by the Centre and state government, said Kumar. As a 100 percent green project, the Semi High-Speed Rail (SHSR) line is expected to reduce journey time from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod from 12 hours to just four hours. The running time between the state capital and Kochi will be only 90 minutes. The airports at Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi will be connected in the SHSR.