Safety inspection of track to be held on September 23
Palakkad (PGT): The Southern Railway authorities have informed that the mandatory safety inspection along the newly gauge-converted Palakkad-Pollachi rail route would be conducted by the end of this month.
As per the plan, the Railway Safety Commissioner would reach Palakkad on September 23 to conduct the safety run under his direct supervision.
The safety inspection is the last step in facilitating commissioning of the route, which connects Palakkad with major pilgrim centres in southern Tamil Nadu. Though the gauge conversion works were completed five months ago, the safety inspection was delayed, raising concern among train commuters.
According to Southern Railway sources, the mandatory final safety inspection would be conducted by experts from the Bengaluru office of Union Ministry of Civil Aviation. Railways can run services on the route only after the safety inspection and certification by the Civil Aviation Department.
Meanwhile, Railways has started considering the option of operating Diesel Electrical Multiple Unit (DEMU) trains on the new route linking major pilgrim centres of both Kerala and Tamil Nadu. As per the plan, the first DEMU will be operated between Madurai and Shoranur to link southern Tamil Nadu with Konkan route.
An Intercity Express between Kannur and Madurai is also under consideration of the Railways.
The Thiruvananthapuram-Palakkad Amrita Express would all likely to be extended to Palani on the new route. Railways is also exploring the possibility of extending the Chennai Egmore-Pollachi Express to Palakkad.
Of the 54-km stretch, 22 km is in Tamil Nadu. The rest of the stretch is in Kerala spreading between Meenkara dam and Palakkad Town railway station.
The metre-gauge line between Pollachi and Palakkad was closed down in 2008 with an assurance that it would be reopened in 16 months as a broad gauge.