With trains at 200 km / h, Kerala’s semi-high speed rail line will be a godsend; here’s how

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K-Rail has estimated that around 46,100 daily road users and 11,500 train travelers will travel to the new link once it is operational.

For Kerala which stretches like a thin strip along the Malabar coast in southern India, the Semi High Speed ​​Rail (SHSR) or Silver Line project promises to change the way its residents travel. from one part of the state to another. Connecting the capital Thiruvananthapuram at the southern tip of the state to Kasaragod at its northern end – a distance of 532 km – trains, running at 200 km per hour, would cut the journey time to less than four hours from 12 to 14 hours currently.

Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd (K-RAIL), a joint venture established by the State Government and the Ministry of Railways to execute the Rs 66,079 crore project, has completed the aerial survey of the rail link which would pass through 11 neighborhoods, with a detailed report and alignment plan likely to be prepared next month.

According to K-Rail CEO V Ajith Kumar, “The project will change the way people travel in the state. The existing road and rail links do not allow high speeds given the existence of sharp turns along the way. This and the large number of level crossings allow trains to reach a low average speed of 35 to 40 km / h.

Therefore, the likelihood of travelers switching from existing road and rail links to SHSR is very high ”.

The Silver Line would also reduce congestion by removing about 7,500 vehicles from state roads and reducing pollution levels. K-Rail has estimated that around 46,100 daily road users and 11,500 train travelers will travel to the new link once it is operational. This would translate into estimated savings of Rs 530 crore on fuel costs at current prices. Up to 500 trucks would be taken off the highways because of the “RORO” service that the Silver Line would offer for transporting goods, the company said.

With regard to the route of the proposed line, 40% of the 532 km in length would be parallel to the existing rail lines. About 11% of the section is expected to be on elevated tracks. In particular, the executing agency is considering a raised alignment for cities, given the high cost of urban land.

Kumar is confident in securing funds for the project, noting that although the financial close has not yet been achieved, most of the multilateral agencies that had been approached were positive about its outlook. “With a debt component of 52%, we envision multilateral funding agencies such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Germany’s KfW and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. We have equity from the Ministry of Railways and the Kerala government. We are also actively investigating certain equity of individual segments such as NRIs. “

Regarding the acquisition of land, Kumar emphasizes that the state government, which would purchase land for the project, was convinced that the issue was not a problem. “There will be resistance from some circles, but ground level feedback suggests people are eager to put in place a better transportation system.” According to the feasibility report, 1,226 hectares of land would be required in total.

The rail company has offered to complete the project by 2024. “If we get all the permits in 2020, it would take us two years to acquire land, with tenders being prepared in tandem. Therefore, two years would be enough for construction work, ”he maintains.

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