Pathanamthitta: Kerala's rail and road transport networks are likely set for a major growth with the fate of the proposed projects currently at a crossroads. The 529.45 km SilverLine semi high-speed rail corridor connecting Kasaragod and Thiruvananthapuram is still on the drawing board, but new plans are being envisaged for the older Sabari Rail project to build the Angamaly-Erumeli railway line.
A revised estimate has been prepared incorporating changes in the electrification system of the Sabari Rail route so as to enable the operation of trains, including the semi-high-speed Vande Bharat trains, on the line.
The Kerala Rail Development Corporation (K-Rail) will today, Nov 28, submit the revised estimate to the Southern Railway for preliminary discussions.
The project cost is likely to go up from Rs 3,347 crore to Rs 3,600 crore.
Kerala Government had earlier announced that Rs 2,000 crore would be allotted for the Sabari Rail project through the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund (KIIFB).
It is expected that the project which has been included in the Gati Sakhti scheme of the Centre will get the approval this time.
K-Rail authorities said that the estimate could undergo changes on the basis of further discussions and that the final estimate would be submitted to the Railway Board after holding discussions with the Southern Railway.
K-Rail took up the preparation of the Sabari Rail project after an agreement was reached by the State Government and the Railways to share the cost of the project equally.
The Angamaly-Erumeli line is being designed in such a way as to enable the operation of trains at speeds of 130 kmph. There will be a speed restriction of 100 kmph at seven stretches on the route that is 111-km long.
Link to Thiruvananthapuram too
Kerala will gain if the alignment of the second phase of the Sabari Rail project extending from Erumeli through Punalur and Nedumangad, and terminating at Kazhakoottam in Thiruvananthapuram is implemented to enable the operation of trains at 160 kmph. This will ensure a faster journey from Angamaly to Thiruvananthapuram. A survey had been conducted earlier to extend the Sabari Rail line from Erumeli to Thiruvananthapuram through Punalur and Nedumangad.
As Nedumangad comes under the definition of the Centre’s policy that towns with a population of 50,000 or more that do not have any rail connectivity should be linked with the railway network, the Centre may sanction more funds for the second phase of the Sabari Rail project.
The State government may have to bring pressure on the Centre for obtaining the approval for the second phase.