Semi High-Speed Rail Corridor in Kerala Gets Cabinet Nod
Kochi: Kerala will get a special railway corridor along its 532-km length by 2024, as the State Government is set to build a Rs. 66,079-crore rail line that will enable semi high-speed trains ply between Kasaragod and Thiruvananthapuram.
The Rs. 66,079-cr. project, to be implemented by KRDCL, will reduce journey time from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod from 12 hours to just four
A Cabinet meeting recently gave clearance to the implementation of the mega infrastructure project by the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL), a joint venture of Government of Kerala and Ministry of Railways.
The completion of the project is expected to reduce railway traffic congestion, according to V Ajith Kumar, Managing Director, KRDCL.
KRDCL will have to acquire about 1,200 hectares of land for the project that will have the rails elevated along urban stretches. The trains will run at a maximum speed of 200 km per hour.
The announcement of the governmental nod to the project, made by Pinarayi Vijayan, State Chief Minister, comes a year after KRDCL initiated a preliminary feasibility study and found the project ‘viable.’ The feasibility report will be forwarded to the Railway Ministry for their in-principle approval. In the meantime, KRDCL will be completing the preparation of DPR (Detailed Project Report) by November 2019.
For meeting the expenses of the Rs. 66,079-crore project, Rs. 34,454 crore will come as loans. The Centre and State will need to provide Rs. 7,720 crore each. The Kerala 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 Union and State Governments, said Ajith Kumar.
Thiruvananthapuram-headquartered KRDCL, floated in January 2017, is a joint venture between the Kerala Government and Indian Railways to execute viable railway projects on a cost-sharing basis. The feasibility study, carried out by Paris-based Systra as the general consultant for KRDCL, had projected the internal rate of return as 5.6 per cent and 8.1 per cent for 30 and 50 years, respectively.
As a 100 per cent 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. The running time between the State Capital and the commercial city of Kochi will be only 90 minutes. The airports at Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi will be connected to the SHSR.
The rail line will pass through 11 of the State’s 14 districts, and stop at 10 stations. Up its northward course from Thiruvananthapuram, these stations will be Kollam, Chengannur, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Tirur, Kozhikode and Kannur before reaching Kasaragod.
Between Thiruvananthapuram and Tirur, the proposed project will pass through a stretch that is different from the existing railway line, since the existing rail line has large number of curves that limit the speed. From Tirur upward, the line will run parallel to the existing track up till Kasaragod. There will be underpasses for road traffic at every 500 metres.
Keeping in mind the maintenance aspect, the rail corridor will also have roads parallel to it. This will open up the land along the new rail corridor which will increase their market value.
The SHSR line will be green. For this, KRDCL will be tying up with IIM-Ahmedabad. It plans to depend heavily on solar power generation and re-used concrete and steel. The Corporation is set to adopt last-mile connectivity, with system-driven e-vehicle public transport system, multi-modal integration, and charging and parking stations, which would take Kerala to next generation of urban mobility.
SHSR will adopt latest world-class rail system technology.