MUMBAI/MANGALORE: Going with Indian Railways’ electrification mission, Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd. (KRCL) has sped up electrification of its 700-odd-km route network passing through three States.
Nearly 40% of the electrification work is complete and the remaining will be done by December 2020, according to KRCL chairman and managing director Sanjay Gupta.
The corporation took up electrification and patch-doubling work simultaneously to augment the network capacity in 2017. The electrification work was undertaken in two packages — Roha (Maharashtra) to Verna (Goa) and Verna to Thokur (Karnataka) — at an estimated cost of ₹1,100 crore.
Mr. Gupta said the energy bill of the corporation, at present around ₹300 crore a year, would be reduced to around ₹100 crore plus the cost of capital employed for the project after electrification. KRCL has borrowed funds from State Bank of India and Exim Bank. He further said the project should give positive returns in a few years after KRCL pays off some part of the borrowed capital.
B.B. Nikham, KRCL regional railway manager, Karwar, said electrification between Thokur (near Mangaluru) and Bijoor (off Byndoor) — about 105 km in total — is almost complete and would be finished in a couple of months. Work between Bijoor and Verna (about 200 km) is under way, he said.
Once the electrification is completed, the entire rail network along the western coast of the country will become almost completely electrified, from Thiruvananthapuram to Ahmedabad. Southern Railway has already completed electrification work between Shoranur and Mangaluru Junction, and electrification between Mangaluru Junction and Panambur is in the final stages. The KRCL network branches out at Thokur from the Mangaluru Junction-Panambur line.
Electrification will not only reduce consumption of diesel, thereby reducing environment pollution, but will also enhance efficiency of train operations, thereby augmenting the network capacity.
The KRCL has also taken up construction of 10 stations, including at Innanje and Mirjan in Karnataka, and work on some of the stations has already been completed. It is also constructing eight loop lines along the network. These two projects, along with electrification, is expected to considerably improve the operational efficiency of the corporation.