First Electric Loco Freight train chugs on Villupuram-Cuddalore Port stretch

TIRUCHCHIRAPPALLI: For the first time an electric locomotive hauled freight train has been operated in the Villupuram – Cuddalore Port Junction energised section more than two months after the stretch was authorised by the Commissioner of Railway Safety for introduction of passenger and goods traffic.

The freight train transporting rice to Thanjavur from Villupuram was hauled by an electric loco up to Cuddalore Port Junction from where it was hauled by a diesel locomotive since the remaining stretch from Cuddalore to Thanjavur via Chidambaram, Mayiladuthurai and Kumbakonam was yet to be electrified. The Villupuram – Cuddalore single line broad gauge stretch was the first portion to be electrified in the mainline section from Villupuram to Thanjavur via Cuddalore, Chidambaram, Mayiladuthurai and Kumbakonam.

The Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), a Government of India enterprise under the Ministry of Railway has been entrusted with the task of executing the electrification project in the 228-km mainline section from Villupuram to Thanjavur which serves as an alternate route to Chennai from Tiruchi and to Tiruchi from Chennai.

The RVNL took up the electrification work in the Villupuram – Cuddalore Port Junction stretch completing it in March this year which was followed by mandatory inspection by the Commissioner of Railway Safety, Southern Circle, Bengaluru. The Commissioner of Railway Safety authorised the newly electrified stretch for introduction of passenger and freight trains on March 25 subject to series of stipulations laid down by him after inspecting the energised stretch.

Senior RVNL and Tiruchi Railway Divisional officials said the first electric locomotive hauled freight train with 42 wagons transporting rice was operated on Sunday from Villupuram to Cuddalore Port Junction. The electric loco was detached at Cuddalore Port Junction and a diesel loco was attached with the freight wagons to continue with its onward journey up to Thanjavur, said the officials.

An RVNL official said the foundation works and mast erection as part of the ongoing overhead electrification project in the remaining stretches from Cuddalore to Mayiladuthurai and beyond was apace. Simultaneously, the RVNL would also electrify the 38-km stretch from Mayiladuthurai to Tiruvarur via Peralam, Punthottam and Nannilam as part of this project being executed at a cost exceeding ₹ 300 crore. The RVNL’s plan is to complete the stretch from Cuddalore to Mayiladuthurai in 2020 and the last portion from Mayiladuthurai to Thanjavur by 2021, said the official.