India’s longest electrified rail tunnel built by Indian Railways is not just an engineering marvel but also a game-changer for freight operations across the railway network.
GUNTAKAL: Indian Railways achieves big feat! India’s longest electrified rail tunnel built by Indian Railways is not just an engineering marvel but also a game-changer for freight operations across the railway network. The longest electrified railway tunnel – 6.7 kilometres long – in the new 112-km long broad gauge (BG) line between Obulavaripalli-Krishnapatnam is expected to result in major monetary benefits. Indian Railways is saving almost Rs 7.5 lakh per coal rake, since the commercial operations on this route began, a railway official told Financial Express Online. The horseshoe-shaped tunnel has been constructed through the New Austrian Tunnelling Method (NATM) spanning across a length of 6,600 metres. The total anticipated cost of the constructed tunnel is Rs 437 crore, while that of the whole project is Rs 1,993 crore. The tunnel has been provided with LED lights at intervals of 10 metres.
According to Ch Rakesh, Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO), South Central Railway (SCR), four commodities namely coal, iron ore, limestones, and fertilizers are being loaded on the freight trains from the Krishnapatnam port and deported to the western parts of the country. The freight trains move through the newly constructed BG line between Obulavaripalli and Krishnapatnam, which has the longest electrified tunnel built between the Cherlopalli and Rapur stations
The SCR zone, which successfully completed the construction of the tunnel in a record time of 43 months, began commercial operations between Obulavaripalli and Krishnapatnam port on July 3, 2019. The official said that the ever since freight operations began through the tunnel, passing through the Obulavaripalli station, the Railway Ministry has saved lakhs in basic freight operations per rake through coal, fertilizer, iron ore and limestone. According to the SCR zone, the difference in basic freight operations per tonne for the old and new route is as follows:
- For coal, the difference in freight per rake varies from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 7.5 lakh.
- For fertilizer, the difference in freight per rake varies from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh
- For iron ore, the difference in freight per rake is about Rs 6 lakh
- For limestone, the difference is about Rs 5.25 lakhs
The official explained that this difference in cost saving for the freight operations of each these commodities is because of the new BG line between Obulavaripalli and Krishnapatnam port which now enables the freight trains to directly come straight from Venkatachalam. Earlier, when this line was not constructed, the freight trains had to take a longer route for travelling to the western destinations of the country. But now, with the tunnel in line, the distance has been reduced by 72 km between Venkatachalam and Obulavaripalli. This has reduced the travel time from 10 hours to five hours and the cost of freight operations on each of the commodities.
It has also resulted in increasing the freight traffic on this route. The line has also reduced the distance for the trains coming from Guntakal division going towards Krishnapatnam and eased the traffic density in the Obulavaripalli Reningunta Gudur section. Prashant Kumar, Senior DCM, Guntakal Division said that as of now, on an average, 12 freight trains pass through the single line section of the BG track on a daily basis.