Hope floats for Nemom Coaching Terminal as Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu restores confidence by keeping his promise for Coaching Terminal in the Works Programme 2017-18, post his inauguration of various facilities at 5 Railway Stations through Video Conferencing at Kozhikode on 26 Sept 2016!
The coaching terminal proposed on 12.14 hectares of land owned by Railways at Nemom, aimed at decongesting Thiruvananthapuram Central, is set to become a reality with the much-delayed project making it to the proposed Works Programme 2017-18 of Railways.
The third railway line from Ernakulam to Shoranur has also found a place on the list of the proposed Works Programme. The government is pushing for the third line in view of the proposal to create an industrial corridor from Ernakulam to Shoranur.
The inclusion of the coaching terminal has come as a surprise as the project was almost shelved with Railways taking the stance that the land adjacent to the Nemom station is “not geographically suitable.” The Rs.250-crore project had figured in the 2008 and 2011 Railway budgets.
The project was proposed as a second satellite station at Thiruvananthapuram where all coach maintenance work could be conducted. A project report is being prepared by railway divisional authorities. “After Nemom project is completed, Thiruvananthapuram Central will be decongested and rail traffic will be smoother in this sector. As the Thiruvananthapuram Central has reached its full capacity such a project is needed,” said an official from the Thiruvananthapuram division.
“Kochuveli terminus having three pit line and three platforms and the new terminus at Nemom will be examined soon. We are also working with the state government on land acquisition,” said Prabhu, after inaugurating various facilities at five railway stations in the state through videoconferencing from Kozhikode on Monday.
The inability to bring new mail and express trains to the capital and the pressure exerted by BJP legislator and former Union Minister for Railways O. Rajgopal, who represents the Nemom Assembly constituency, had led to a change of stance.
The coaching terminal at Nemom had been mooted taking into account the lack of platforms to handle trains at Thiruvananthapuram Central and the satellite terminal at Kochuveli. Thiruvananthapuram Central is handling two-and-a-half times its sanctioned capacity and the Thiruvananthapuram-Kochuveli line has become choked.
As the land available (12.14 ha ) is in the shape of a triangle, another 28.33 ha needs to be acquired. The cash-strapped Railways is, however, going ahead with a truncated Rs.65 crore coaching terminal as it cannot afford to mobilise Rs.250 crore, the bulk of which is needed for land acquisition.
Divisional Railway Manager Prakash Butani told that the new plan had been forwarded from Southern Railway headquarters, Chennai, to the Railway Board for perusal.
“It has to figure in the budget so that we can commence the project. The focus at Nemom will be on stabling lines as they can be used to shift the parked rakes from the Central station and use them for train operations,” he said.
Modelled on the lines of the Basin Bridge Coaching Depot in Chennai, Railways are to set up 10 pit lines to take care of the maintenance of 30 trains; 12 stabling lines; sick lines; and quarters for personnel at Nemom as per the original plan.