Finally, double track on Kottayam rail route gets ready, first train today evening

Kottayam: Kerala is set to earn the distinction of a state having a fully electrified double-track railway from Sunday with the opening of the 16.7-km parallel line from Chingavanam to Ettumanoor in Kottayam district. With the inauguration, the long wait for a double track on the Kayamkulam–Kottayam– Ernakulam section would come to an end.

“The new track will be ready for train traffic by 6:30pm on Sunday,” said an official of the Railways.

The first train along the new track would be Palaruvi Express from Palakkad Junction to Tirunelveli.

The new track is the ‘down’ line towards Thiruvananthapuram.

Ahead of the opening, the final linking of the new and old tracks would be carried out at Parolickal railway gate near Ettumanoor on Sunday. On completion of this task, the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of the Southern Railway’s construction wing will carry out an inspection. Subsequently, services along the track will start.

Over two-decade wait
It was back in 2001 that sanction was received for the doubling the railway track from Kayamkulam to Ernakulam via Kottayam. Initially, clearance was given for work on the Ernakulam–Mulanthuruthy stretch and subsequently, other areas were covered. The last stretch from Chingavanam to Ettumanoor is ready now after 21 years.

Apart from the second line, the Railways also laid two new lines from Kottayam railway station to Muttambalam railway gate bypassing the famous twin tunnels.

No services almost entire day
Meanwhile, the restrictions on train services announced by the Railway in view of the completion of the doubling work will be in force on Sunday also. As part of these curbs, no trains will conduct services for 10 hours.

Speed restriction
At the same time, it has been revealed that the Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) has set a speed limit of 50 km per hour for trains along the new Chingavanam–Ettumanoor track. The report of the CRS also says that a minor technical defect was noticed on the Neelimangalam bridge and that it should be rectified within two years.

“This defect will not affect train services and it can be corrected soon,” said an official.

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