KRDCL plans ‘Aggregate Stations’ in between main stations along 532km Kasargod-Thiruvananthapuram semi-HSR project

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In what might aid quick travel from remote locations, the Kerala Railway Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) plans to set up ‘Aggregate Stations’ in between main stations along the 532-km section under the semi high-speed rail project connecting Kasargod and Thiruvananthapuram.

“The concept is similar to sub-urban rail system. However, we’ll be setting up a maximum of three such stations in a 50-70 km stretch, for instance in between Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam stations,” V Ajith Kumar, MD of KRDCL, told. As per final draft of the Rs.66,079-crore project, done by Paris-based engineering and consulting group Systra, there will be only 10 main stations in the entire stretch – Kochuveli, Kollam, Chengannur, Kottayam, Kakkanad (Ernakulam), Thrissur, Tirur, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasargod.

“We’ll deploy the same set of air-conditioned rakes as those used for services in the North-South corridor. While main service trains have rakes with nine to 12 coaches, the link trains will have three rakes, but will be operated at the same speed – 200 kmph,” the official said.

The authorities are yet to finalise ‘Aggregate stations’ as the traffic projection is being studied by consultant Systra as part of preparation of the detailed report, which is expected in a month or two.

The existing railway line between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod is highly saturated and due to sharp curves and older alignment, the average sectional speed of Mail/Express trains are limited to 45 kmph. The journey time under the proposed rail corridor will cut be cut to just 4.5 hours to cover the stretch that currently takes 12 hours.

Recently the State Cabinet gave clearance to the project. The KRDCL, a joint venture of the railways and the state government, will have to acquire about 1,200 hectares for the project. The travel charge is projected to be Rs 2.75 per km and the project is expected to be completed in 2024.

While a new railway track will be laid parallel to the present track from Tirur to Kasargod, the section from Thiruvananthapuram to Tirur will mostly run parallel to the existing track, but will have deviations.