Gauge Conversion works on Podanur-Pollachi Section to be completed by March 31

Loco trial runs conducted on Pollachi-Kinathukkadavu section before CRS inspection scheduled on March 31
Loco trial run conducted on Pollachi – Kinathukkadavu section

COIMBATORE: The locomotive trial run of a diesel engine at 45 kmph on the newly converted broad gauge line between Pollachi and Kinathukkadadvu appears to be a gleam of hope for restoring a direct and shortest rail connectivity between the Southern and Western Tamil Nadu.

The construction wing officials of Southern Railway led by Deputy Chief Engineer R.Ramakrishnaa oversaw the trial run of the diesel locomotive covering the 21 km stretch in an approximate 30 to 40 minutes time. The trial run commenced at Pollachi at 1.10 p.m. and the locomotive reached Kinathukkadavu at 1.50 p.m. In the return direction, the locomotive started at 2.05 p.m. and reached Pollachi at 2.35 p.m.

At present, signalling works and track laying for 1.5 km stretch between Podanur and Kinathukkadavu are in progress.

Mr.Ramakrishnaa told that the pending works and fine tuning would be completed and the section would be ready for Commissioner Rail Safety (CRS) inspection by March 31. Once the CRS certified the track as safe and cleared it for passenger traffic, the Southern Railway could throw it open for cargo traffic first and then passenger traffic.

The previous meter gauge line was taken up for gauge conversion in 2009 and the services were suspended in phases from 2010.

Initially, fund allocation proved inadequate and then land acquisition related issues resulted in the gauge conversion getting slowed down.

Now, the works were nearing completion at an approximate cost of Rs. 320 crore, the officials said.

Restoration of the section would get Coimbatore region connected with Palani, Dindigul and Madurai and it would ease the present pressure on the Coimbatore – Tirupur – Erode and Karur sections.

Travel time to Madurai would also come down considerably, railway officials said.