Track shipments

Focus on the third lane, waterways for faster journeys

Emphasis on the profitability of travel by train and dedicated corridor by inland waterway

Emphasis on the profitability of travel by train and dedicated corridor by inland waterway

While the Center is said to have passed a soft sanction for the ₹63,000 crore SilverLine semi-high-speed railway project, pundits are fighting for alternatives in the form of faster but cost-effective train travel and d a dedicated corridor through the state’s many but underutilized coastal and inland waterways.

Even though the future of SilverLine is uncertain, there are huge opportunities to speed up the movement of trains, if needed, by laying a third track in areas such as Ernakulam-Shoranur and Thiruvananthapuram-Kayamkulam, where the speed is limited despite the availability of a pair of tracks. Indeed, trains will continue to be the fastest, most economical and most sustainable mass rapid transit system (MRTS). Wonders can be done by acquiring a minimum of land and increasing the infrastructure of stations. But the number of express and premium train stops must be reduced, said former NATPAC director BG Sreedevi, who is now a project manager and senior expert at WAPCOS Limited, a central government company.

River corridor

“A hydrofoil service, like the one offered a decade ago between Kochi and Kozhikode, will provide fast, stress-free journeys through underused waterways. The government could consider operating point-to-point services linking other districts as well, since inland and coastal waterways can be made operational from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod. Dual-option vessels can operate across both river corridors,” she said, adding that regular helicopter service by private actors would greatly help those in the Malabar region to reach and return from Thiruvananthapuram. the same day.

Interestingly, a Kochi-Kozhikode hydrofoil service that aimed to provide high-speed river connectivity between the two cities and later to Thiruvananthapuram hit a stalemate after a pair of Russian hydrofoil vessels (each capable of carry 146 passengers) were shipped to Kochi. in July 2016 failed to obtain a security certificate from the Indian Register of Shipping (IRS).

Informed sources have said that the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and Kerala Waterways Infrastructure Limited (KWIL) should join forces to speed up the development of the river corridor which could carry both passengers and bulk cargo.

Third track

Passenger associations and railway officials have long called for the introduction of an automatic signaling system, a cost-effective method of ushering in the efficiency of rail service and eliminating crossing detentions. Lately, they have been calling for a better option – the laying of a third track, in which the speed of trains can double the existing speed. This is particularly true of the Ernakulam-Shoranur corridor, where the utility of the 107 km double track is over 125%.

Rajendra Prasad Jingar, administrative director of the Railways Construction Wing (Ernakulam), said an ongoing survey to lay the third track in the Ernakulam-Shoranur corridor should be completed by October, after which his Detailed Project Report (DPR) would be sent to the Board of Railways by December. “The board will review it and make a decision. His roster will be set depending on the investigation,” he added.

It had been reported that the number of stops in the proposed third track corridor estimated to cost over ₹5,000 crore could be limited to six, as it would serve express and freight trains.