Coimbatore: The newly converted Pollachi-Podanur broad gauge track was given the safety go-ahead by the Commissioner for Railway Safety, southern circle, on Friday. Train service is expected to begin from May, railway sources said.
This is expected to be a boon for thousands of residents of Coimbatore and Pollachi, who commute between the towns on a daily basis, as well as for frequent travellers to the southern district.
Railway safety commissioner KA Manohar inspected the track over Thursday and Friday. He said the technical aspects of the track is “satisfactory” and he was “authorising running of passenger trains”. “I have inspected the technical aspects of the track and it has been found satisfactory. I will be submitting a report to the railway ministry, from where it will be communicated to the railway board,” he told.
The commissioner inspected the 40 km track by motor trolley. After he was satisfied with the track, the team conducted speed trials with diesel locomotives on Friday afternoon. Though the maximum speed allowed for passenger trains in the country is 105 kmph, the commissioner will fix the speed limit for the track and different stretches within it. “I will specify the speed limits in my report,” said Manoharan.
However, sources expect the specified speed limit to vary between 60 kmph to 80 kmph, which means the train will cover the distance in 45 minutes, including a stoppage at Kinathukidavu. A drive to Pollachi from Coimbatore during peak hour traffic takes anywhere between 1 to 2.5 hours during weekdays.
Though developing a station in Chettipalayam has been a long-pending demand, the safety commissioner said his report will not include it. “The Chettipalayam station was not there when the meter gauge was closed and broad gauge conversion began. So, as off now, there is no such stoppage,” he said.
Meanwhile, many commuters expressed excitement over the clearance. “I take two hours to drive to and from Pollachi. Besides, the wastage of and time and huge stress on the driver,” said Avinash G, a textile designer.
“Even by bus, it takes two hours and I always hold my life in my hand because so many bus accidents occur on the route,” said D Charles, an accountant from Pollachi, who travels to Nagarajapuram for work every day.