CHENNAI: With single railway lines reaching saturation and demand for new lines growing, the railway board has given a green light to conduct a traffic and location survey for doubling of 385 km of single lines in three routes.
The construction wing of the Southern Railway recently commenced the final location survey for laying a second line in Erode-Karur (65 km), Katpadi-Vellore-Tiruvannamalai-Villupuram (160.10 km), and Salem-Karur-Dindigul (160 km) sections. The funds were allocated by the railway board in the Budget.
The final survey involves assessing the tentative route along with the quantum of land required for the project. “During the preliminary engineering-cum-traffic survey conducted a few years ago, freight and passenger traffic potential, classification of land and rate of return for the project had been studied. A final report will be sent to the board for approval,” said a senior railway official.
The zonal railway also took up an updation survey for a new line between Ariyalur and Namakkal via Perambalur, Turaiyur and Tattyya Nagar Pettai (108 km). Presently, the Chennai Egmore-Madurai (496 km) and Chennai Central-Coimbatore (497 km) chord lines provide connectivity from the capital city to southern and western districts. Both these sections are electrified double lines.
The two chord lines are linked through single lines facilitating transport facilities for the en-route districts. The lines are Arakkonam-Kancheepuram-Chengapattu, Katpadi-Villupuram, Erode-Karur-Dindigul, Salem-Attur-Virudhachalam, Salem-Namakkal-Karur-Tiruchy, and Salem-Namakkal-Karur-Dindigul. “The board approves projects considering various factors such as demand, track utilisation, land cost and rate of return. It would be premature to predict if these projects will get nod immediately,” said a railway official.
G Elangkavi, former member, Zonal Railway Users’ Consultative Committee (ZRUCC), Southern Railway, said, “The western region has been deprived of train connectivity for several years and the new line works between Erode and Palani has remained a non-starter for decades. The railways should consider doubling these lines at the earliest.”