Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A year now, no rails yet on Rs 30-cr bridge


DC | 

Venduruthy Railway Bridge.
Venduruthy Railway Bridge.
Kochi: Over a year  after the construction of the Venduruthy Railway Bridge, constructed at a staggering cost of Rs 30 crore, the Railway authorities are yet to lay tracks in the section. Worse, the Railways have no plans to make  the Cochin Harbour terminus the terminal station or run passenger trains through the route.
“The Port Trust is yet to commission the bridge although the work was completed long ago. As of now the route will be used only to run goods trains. The Harbour Terminus station has got no infrastructure like signal communication to aid passenger services. The station buildings are on the verge of collapse and need a complete revamp. So it will cost the railways a lot to run passenger trains,” a senior railway official said.
Currently, the Ernakulam junction is saturated and one of the proposals was to decongest it by developing the  Harbour Terminus as a terminal station. The oldest railway station in Ernakulam once buzzed with activity as most  trains were extended to or halted at Ernakulam or Thiruvananthapuram.
The death knell for passenger trains was sounded in 1996 when the Navy and the Civil Aviation Department objected to electrification of the six-km route. To compound the woes, a dredger hit the Venduruthy bridge a year later. However, plans to build a new railway bridge revived hopes of revamping the station and subsequent running of passenger trains.
“The line is ready and the railways need to just lay the  tracks over the new bridge. Another problem is non-electrification of the route. The Navy’s objection is only over a 200-metre stretch which can be overcome with  latest technologies like tunnels or underground pantograph. The project is  incurring heavy losses due to non-completion of the work,” a senior Town Planning official said.

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