Palakkad: Hauled by two engines, the 42-wagon goods train chugged past Pollachi on Sunday evening marking the resumption of the commercial train services on the Palakkad-Pollachi section after a gap of seven years.
The train carrying 3,720 tonnes of fertilizers from Mangalore was the first goods train to be operated on the stretch after the successful speed trials conducted by the Palakkad division of southern railway a month ago.
The 55km from Palakkad to Pollachi track was closed to train traffic in December 2008 for gauge conversion. With the resumption of the goods service, passenger trains are also expected to resume operation in the near future. “We are awaiting the railway board sanction for operating passenger trains,” said a railway official.
Officials in Palakkad railway division said the goods train carrying fertilisers from Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilisers Limited reached Palakkad junction around 3.30pm. “From Palakkad town station, the train started around 3.50pm and reached Pollachi at 6pm from where it proceeded to Madurai via Udumalpet, Madathukulam, Palani and Dindigul,” said a railway official. The fertiliser load was meant for delivery in Madurai.
Though the track is equipped to handle a maximum speed of up to 80kmph, the goods train was operated under 45 kmph as the tracks are newly laid. “In addition to the loco pilot and assistant loco pilot, two traffic inspectors had travelled in the train to assess the tracks and train movement. The results are satisfactory,” said the official. Another goods train to Meelavittan in Tirunelveli will be operated on Tuesday.
The gauge conversion between Palakkad – Pollachi was taken up along with Pollachi – Palani – Dindigul stretches.
Prior to the gauge conversion work, the Palakkad – Pollachi stretch used to be one of the busiest, but after train operations were stopped goods had to be trucked or sent to alternative train routes which where time consuming.
“Goods from Tamil Nadu ports like Tuticorin could be sent to Kerala via Madurai while those from Cochin and Mangalore could be transported to Tamil Nadu without much hassle,” said a railway official.