Goods train with 42 wagons runs through route
Palakkad (PGT): Giving new hopes of resuming regular train services linking Southern Tamil Nadu with Kerala and Konkan routes, a load tolerance test was conducted on Sunday in the newly gauge converted Palakkad-Pollachi rail stretch using a goods train comprising 42 wagons. The goods train reached Palakkad Junction from Mangalore by 1 p.m. carrying bags of fertilizer.
There were onlookers on either side of the tracks to see the goods train embarking on its maiden trip.
Instead of taking the Palakkad-Coimbatore-Erode route, the train bound for Tiruchirappalli and Madurai was redirected through the new route to study the load tolerance level of the new broad gauge route. It reached Pollachi in 45 minutes and proceeded to Tiruchirappalli via Palani. The speed was 45 km/hour.
It was only two weeks ago, the safety inspection of the route was conducted. Railway authorities informed that it was the prevailing code of conduct in Kerala as part of the local body election that prevented them from resuming train services in the route soon after the safety inspection.
The train comprising 42 wagons with fertiliser left Palakkad junction at 15.30 hours and was taken via Palakkad Town to Pollachi. The train continued its journey from Pollachi to Madurai and Tiruchirappally. The goods train transported 3,720 tonnes of fertiliser from the unit of the Mangaluru Chemicals and Fertilisers in Mangaluru. While one half of the consignment headed to Kudal Nagar under Madurai division, the other portion went to the Tiruchi goods shed.
Of the 42 wagons in the goods train, 15 of them were to Kudal Nagar in Madurai division and 27 to Tiruchirapally. The new development will enable the Railways to save a lot of money on fuel. Currently, there is a saving of 120 kilometres to Dindigul. Earlier, a passenger had to go to Erode and then to Karur and proceed to Dindigul from Palakkad.
The train stopped three kilometers away from Pollachi due to rising gradient (between Anamalai road and Pollachi). After a five minute halt it continued its journey and finally reached Pollachi junction at 6 pm. Sources said that on Tuesday a goods train will be operated from Meelavitan (Madurai) division to Palakkad.
Efforts are now on to resume train services by November second week. In the initial phase, two passenger trains from Tiruchirappalli would be extended to Palakkad in the new route.
Also there are plans to extend Thiruvananthapuram-Palakkad Amrita Express to Madurai in the new route. The train is at present parked in Palakkad for more than 14 hours daily.
Officials said the Palakkad-Pollachi stretch had handled an average of 300 tonnes of goods per month during the days in which it was a meter gauge route. The route would re-establish direct link between Mangalore Port and Southern Tamil Nadu. Between Madurai and Mangalore, the distance would be reduced by 120 km.