Chengannur to Pampa by train in 40 minutes
With the railway ministry giving green signal for the 75km project’s final location survey, a hassle-free journey through the scenic forest could become a reality in a few years.
KOCHI: An elevated rail line that can take Sabarimala pilgrims from Chengannur to Pampa in around 40 minutes. With the railway ministry giving green signal for the 75km project’s final location survey, a hassle-free journey through the scenic forest could become a reality in a few years.
Metroman E Sreedharan told TNIE that the railway ministry had approved the project proposal and gave permission for the final location survey costing `1.88 crore in May. He said the rail line along the south bank of Pampa river is viable and will not need large-scale land acquisition. Precious flora and fauna on the forest route can be saved because the elevated pillars will be located mostly on the river puramboke.
Sreedharan had presented the project, a brainchild of Fr M K Varghese Corepiscopa, to the railway ministry in April. Fr Varghese saidthe nod for the survey was given quickly due to Sreedharan’s intervention. The state government too had given approval for the project proposal.
Sreedharan said it would be a double line project, with overhead traction and an advanced signalling system so that trains can run at three-minute intervals when needed. “The rolling stock will be exactly the same as proposed for the Delhi Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) with eight coaches. Each train can carry 960 persons,” said Sreedharan.
‘After pilgrimage season, railway line can be used for tourism purposes’
“I had drawn up a proposal for a monorail earlier, but it wouldn’t be beneficial in this case as only a less number of people can travel by it,” said Fr Varghese. Once the project becomes a reality, there won’t be any parking problem at Pampa.
“Pollution and road accidents too could be reduced,” he said. Sreedharan said based on the last awarded rates of RRTS, the project would cost Rs 12,036 crore and take four years to complete. The proposal suggests funding on BOT or PPP mode or on Metro pattern.
“Another attraction is the scenic beauty all along the route. After the pilgrimage season, the line can be used for tourism purposes,” said Fr Varghese. “The elevated railway line passes close to the Aranmula, Cherukolpuzha and Perunthenaruvi tourist destinations.
It will also lead to the reviving of the ancient trade centres such as Chengannur, Kozhenchery, Ranni, Vadasserikkara, Athikayam and Attathodu,” he said. Fr Varghese said the stampede on January 14, 2011, during the peak of pilgrimage season, prompted him to think about such a project.
“I travelled to Sabarimala seven times since then and found the elevated rail could resolve all the problems,” said Fr Varghese. According to him, even the construction work can be carried out without disturbing the peace and calm of the forests by using equipment like the girder erection machine. “Construction materials can be transported via boats,” he added.