Electrification work on Dindigul – Virudhunagar section in final stages

MADURAI: The electric traction work between Dindigul and Virudhunagar railway stations in Madurai railway division are in the final stages with engineers and technicians carrying out tower wagon inspection on the section. Senior officials of Southern Railway have confirmed that the section will be electrified by March 31.

Earlier, during his Republic Day speech, divisional railway manager, Ajai Kant Rastogi announced the electrification work on the 106 km stretch would be completed by March 31. The electrification work from Madurai to Nagercoil commenced in 2009-10 at an estimated cost of Rs 180 crore. The works between the Nagercoil and Tirunelveli stretch were already completed last year and the commissioner of railway safety has already inspected the section.

Railway officials said the infrastructure works of electric traction like post erection, wiring have been completed from Madurai to Tirunelveli and Tuticorin. They are carrying out adjustment works and other necessary fittings. Madurai division had started operating its north-bound trains through electrical traction after the electrification was complete till Dindigul and services started from Dindigul in September 2011. With electrification works progressing on the Dindigul – Madurai – Tirunelveli – Tuticorin section, the stretch between Dindigul – Virudhunagar will be commissioned by March 31.

R P Udayakumar, chief project manager, railway electrification of Southern Railway said the entire electrification works from Madurai to Nagercoil would be completed by December 2013. Among these sections, Tirunelveli – Nagercoil is ready for operation and pending for safety certificates for electric locomotive operation. “The electrification works will be complete between Madurai – Virudhunagar by March 31 and final inspection through tower wagon is being carried out,” he said. The work should have been completed even earlier but the delay in railway yard remodelling works at Madurai dragged the completion. “The remodelling works were complete in Madurai last year enabling the completion of electrification works as well”, he commented.

To feed the electric traction, railways has set up four substations at Virudhunagar, Kovilpatti, Vanji Maniachi and Nanguneri which will convert 110 KV to 25 KV for traction. The substations are situated every 60 km and switching points at every 15 km. These substations and switching points can be remotely controlled from Madurai and the works on substations and switching points are also nearing completion, Udayakumar said.

Electrification officials in Madurai said that they have completed all the works as well as tower wagon inspections too. There was a delay in Virudhunagar since the height of the bridge was hampering wiring works and it had been rectified recently. They are waiting for electrical supply to Virudhunagar substation from the TNEB and once the supply is provided, the traction can be charged, the officials said. The electric traction will provide operational benefits to trains, especially goods trains by reducing their running time. However, the full benefit of electrical traction can be realised for passenger trains once the doubling of Chennai to Madurai sections and southern destinations are complete bringing down the travelling time to a great extent, railway sources said.