The semi high-speed rail project is expected to cut down travel time between Kerala’s northern and southern ends from the existing 12 hours to just four hours.
Kerala semi high-speed rail on fast-track! Last month, the Railway Ministry gave in-principle approval for a semi high-speed rail corridor connecting Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod in the state of Kerala. The project titled “Silver Line”, will enable trains to travel at a speed of 200 km per hour a first for railways. The semi high-speed rail project is expected to cut down travel time between Kerala’s northern and southern ends from the existing 12 hours to just four hours! Ajith Kumar, Managing Director, Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (K-Rail) was quoted in an IE report saying that the feasibility studies have already been conducted and a detailed project report (DPR) is currently in the final stages of completion.
Kerala semi high-speed rail project: Top 10 facts
1. According to Kumar, in the semi high-speed rail project, the technology is conventional and the company does not have to think about importing except the rolling stock.
2. Since the rolling stock’s proven technology for 200 kmph is only available in the international market, and as a lot of safety features will be incorporated into the rolling stock, it is the only component that will be imported. Everything else will be ‘Made in India’.
3. The fares for Kerala semi-high speed ‘Silver Line’ are going to be Rs 2.75 per km, comparable to existing third-AC fare, the Managing Director said.
4. The “Silver Line” project aims to ease pressure on the existing network and also on the major highways across the state which are equally dense. The 532-km long corridor is likely to be developed at a cost of Rs 56,443 crore.
5. Nearly 40% of the track will be parallel to the existing railway lines, while the rest of the tracks will be developed on a new alignment. Around 11% of the track will be elevated at various places. KRDCL, the executing company, is considering elevated alignment especially at the majority of the city centre where the cost of land is very high. On the other hand, in the villages, KRDCL will go on the ground to control the costs.
6. According to Kumar, Delhi Metro had tried operating the semi-high-speed trains but they found it to be costly. If KRDCL can get loans at lower interest rates, it will buy the rolling stock and ask private companies to maintain and operate it. However, the fare structures will be the same, he stated.
7. Initially, the mainline fast trains would consist of around nine coaches with a sitting capacity of 675 passengers. By the year 2051, there will be 14-car trains. On the basis of the traffic requirement, KRDCL will take the call on the length of the train.
8. The ‘Silver Line’ project will include feeder trains between small stations with 300-pax capacity. The trains will have fewer seats and more space for passengers to stand.
9. Initially, there will be around 40 trips in a day in each direction. The routes on which these trains will run will be fully-electrified and the stations would be powered by solar power.
10. The project is likely to be commissioned in 2024. According to Kumar, the DPR will be ready in two months. The next 6 to 12 months will be spent in getting approvals for the DPR from Indian Railways, state government, Niti Aayog, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs and the Cabinet Committee. The project is estimated to get final approval by December 2020. The process of land acquisition will begin now, Kumar added.