MRVC submits feasibility report on Thiruvananthapuram-Chengannur RRTS project in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram, April 24, 2014

The Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) has submitted its feasibility study report on the proposed Rapid Rail Transit System (RRTS) from Thiruvananthapuram to Chengannur in Kerala.
MRVC had been appointed by the Kerala Government to carry out the feasibility study for the project on the 125 km route.
The existing system on this double line railway stretch 25 kv AC traction, broad gauge and multi-aspect colour light signaling (MACLS).  
An official press release said the tentative project cost of the proposed RRTS has been put at Rs 3330.78 crores and the funding for it is expected to come from the state government, multilateral funding, the Union Ministry of Urban Development, infrastructure and tax-free bonds, borrowig from Indian Railway Finance Corporation Ltd. and loans from banks and financial institutions.
The report said the daily average expense for journeys in the proposed RRTS will be Rs 87.77 compared to Rs 60.54 by bus and Rs 237.91 by car; based on journeys on 25 days a month. The minimum fare recommended is Rs 10 with a price range of Rs 0.80 to Rs 2 per kilometer.
The Kerala government has proposed the RRTS to ensure unhinderd movement on the route, which has many state government offices and currently witnesses heavy traffic congestion.
There is limited scope of road widening; high incidence of road casualties and inability to introduce additional train services with the existing infrastructure.
The survey conducted as part of the feasibility study shows that Thiruvananthapuram has a daily boarding of 43,472 passengers and daily alighting of 43,122 with Kollam 17,069 and 16,017 and Chengannur 2626 and 2210.
The present commuter profile includes students, government employees, IT sector professionals and daily wage labourers. The existing factors in favour of RRTS on the Thiruvananthapuram-Chengannur railway route are the 27 stations, including major ones like Thiruvananthapuram Central, Kollam, Kayamkulam and Chengannur; average inter-station distance of 4.65 km; bi-directional peak trips and a line leading to Ernakulam via Alappuzha (single line) and another line leading to Ernakulam via Chengannur.
Further, the report points to the cost effective side of RRTS. It requires only the upgrading of existing railway network and does not recommend construction of a new rail corridor. Besides cost, other benefits of RRTS are that the corridor will develop a continuous urban segment, paving way for the emergence of service industries and development of integrated townships, accelerated regional development and job creation through improved connectivity.
The report has also identified certain existing challenges in the form of large number of level crossing gates (78); gradient of 1:100 posing a challenge to automatic signaling system; crowding during peak morning and evening hours; land acquisition/resettlement and rehabilitation; non-uniform platform heights and trespassing, especially at major stations.
As part of the project, the report has recommended augmentation of railway stations at Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam and also yard modifications at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochuveli, Kollam and Mavelikara. 
It has also recommended raising the level of 20 platforms to the standard height of 840 mm. 
The proposed signaling system will be Automatic Block Signaling (ABS) with Train Protection and Warning System for enhanced safety. 
The RRTS will have the railway line divided into series of sections or blocks of 1 km and the average speed would be 57 km/hour.
The proposed organizational models pertaining to Strategy for Institutional Structure for Creation / Augmentation of Infrastructure are: 1. Implementation of Project by existing Railway PSU 2. Formation of joint special purpose vehicle (SPV) between Government of Kerala and Indian Railways and 3. Implementation of project by Indian Railways through Southern Railway. 
And the proposed organizational models relating to Strategy for Institutional Structure for Operations and Maintenance are: 1. Operation and Maintenance by Indian Railways and 2. Formation of Special Purpose Vehicle by Government of Kerala.              

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