Revised date of December 2021 and 2024 for routes via Kottayam and Alappuzha respectively
The long-overdue doubling of the rail track through Kottayam and Alappuzha can be completed as per the revised deadline of December 2021 and 2024 respectively despite delays encountered due to the COVID-19-related lockdowns and labour shortage, said sources in the Construction Wing of Southern Railway on Saturday.
“We are confident of adhering to the deadline on both the routes, although works suffered delay in April and May — considered the peak working season when there is generally little or no rainfall. This season was different since it rained in both months, while workers were stranded in their home States due to the lockdown. We hope to make up for the time lost in August and September, provided rain does not hamper work,” they said.
Unlike yesteryears, Railways have allotted adequate funds to complete the track-doubling process in the two busy corridors where the number of trains exceeded the track capacity over a decade ago.
In Kottayam, 80% of the doubling work is over in the 16.84-km Ettumanur-Chingavanam stretch. Land acquisition is over, while civil, electrical, signalling and telecommunication works are on. Trains through Kottayam will be able to save an average of 10 minutes once the stretch gets double tracks, official sources said.
They are now detained at Ettumanur, Chingavanam or Kottayam for other trains to cross due to non-availability of a second track.
Track doubling through Alappuzha would take up to 2024 to be completed, as per the revised deadline. Railways have agreed to hand over compensation for land if the State government hands over the requisite land in the Ernakulam-Kumbalam-Thuravur stretch by March 2022. This and the 46-km Thuravur-Ambalappuzha corridors can be doubled by 2024 if land is handed over on time, the sources said.
Doubling of the Ernakulam-Thuravur stretch suffered delay since Railways and the State government were in different pages on Railways’ demand that the State share half the project cost. Following this, Railways decided to fund the entire project.
Work on the second track on this stretch will begin from Konthuruthy, while trains leaving Ernakulam Junction will use the existing second track that leads to the Harbour Terminus railway station. The signal system would have to be modified in order to simultaneously operate a pair of trains in the corridor.
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