Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Blueprint for E Coast rail link to Cuddalore ready - The Times of India

Blueprint for E Coast rail link to Cuddalore ready
21 Jun 2008, 0346 hrs IST, V Ayyappan,TNN

CHENNAI: Gazing at the shimmering waters of the Bay of Bengal while traveling down the east coast on a train to Puducherry — the possibility is not so distant as Southern Railway is all set to lay a new line from Chennai to Cuddalore via Mamallapuram and Puducherry.

The project is part of an ambitious plan chalked out by the railways to connect Chennai to towns along the East Coast all the way up to Kanyakumari. Though the entire line will be executed later on, the railway board has given the go ahead to build the line from Chennai to Cuddalore at a cost of Rs 523 crore.

According to the approved alignment, the 179-km line will take off from Perungudi station on the Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) and traverse between Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) and East Coast Road (ECR) before reaching Jipmer at Puducherry and Cuddalore. No timeframe has been fixed for completion of the line.

After Perungudi, the line will pass through Sholinganallur, Kovalam, Tiruporur, Mamallapuram, Kalpakkam, Kuvathur, Cheyyur, Marakanam, Kunimedu, Kuiyilappalayam, Jipmer in Puducherry, Bahour, Varakalpattu, Tirupadipuliyur and Cuddalore Fort. The line will run close to the sea at Mamallapuram.

The railway line will run on an embankment, and as most of the ECR does not have buildings on either side, travellers will be able to have a view of the sea.

Surveys to identify passenger feasibility on the route have revealed that the line will be viable as more people are travelling from Chennai to Puducherry and Cuddalore because of the recent developments along the OMR and ECR.

A Perungudi-Cuddalore line will enable passengers to board an Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) to Mamallapuram and then switch to conventional trains to Puducherry or Cuddalore. Travellers will be able to reach Puducherry in two hours, as against the five hours via the current line through Chennai Egmore-Villupuram-Puducherry.

A senior official of Southern Railway said, “A final survey is being done by the engineering division to update the cost before starting work. But, there will not be any change in the alignment.”

Though Perungudi has been fixed as a take off point, railways is also considering other options “because they want to link the line to the main network. We are considering whether the new line can be connected to some point on the Beach-Tambaram line. This will enable it to handle long distance and freight trains,” said Southern Railway Chief Public Relations Officer Neenu Ittyerah.

If the line starts from Perungudi, the operations wing has decided to operate EMUs from Chennai Beach via MRTS to Mamallapuram and conventional trains between Cuddalore and Mamallapuram via Puducherry. The board has approved the new line by including it in the supplementary budget of September 2007.

Thanks BK for sharing it in the group.

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