MANGALURU: Passengers can expect smoother train journey from Mangaluru Central towards Kerala after March this year as Southern Railway is all set to commission the 328-km Shoranur-Mangaluru electric line.
Once the Commissioner of Railway Safety inspects the line and authorizes Southern Railway to operate passenger trains on the network, electric locos (engines) would haul trains instead of the diesel ones.
Yet, there would be two constraints, said Naresh Lalwani, Divisional Railway Manager of Southern Railway’s Palakkad Division. The first is the commissioning of an electric substation at Chervathur, 89 km from Mangaluru, and the second: availability of electric locos. The Southern Railway headquarters has asked the Railway Board to provide 17 electric locos, which are yet to arrive, he told.
The initial plan, after all conditions are met, is to run passenger trains originating from and terminating at Mangaluru Central Station towards the South. If all the trains on the section up to Mangaluru Junction are to be hauled by electric locos, another 10 locos are needed, he said.
He said that the lines beyond Mangaluru Junction, either towards Mumbai or Hassan, are not electrified and hence, electric locos need not be deployed for passing-by trains, Mr. Lalwani said.
On its part, the Central Organisation of Railway Electrification, Allahabad, is gearing up for the inspection.
Its Chief Project Officer at Chennai office Rajendra Prasad said that the Central Organisation of Railway Electrification would request the Commissioner of Railway Safety to conduct the inspection in the first week of March.
The cost of the project (Shoranur-Mangaluru-Panambur) is about Rs. 302 crore [calculated at rates prevailing in 2010]. Mr. Lalwani said that some passenger trains run on electric traction up to Kannur from Shoranur while some goods trains are hauled by electric locos up to Chervathur at present.
Complete electrification would eliminate change of locos and the crew at Shoranur thereby saving time.
The speed could also increase even as there would be lesser wear and tear of the engine. One can expect trains running at enhanced speed and reduced time after the next timetable (October 2017), Mr. Lalwani said.
Two more electric substations are to come up in Ullal and Jokatte in Dakshina Kannada.
However, they would be required when all the trains on the section are operated on electric traction, he said.