South Central Railway has completed construction of the first phase of the Nadikudi-Srikalahasti railway track. A 46-km-long track between New Pindugurlla-Savalyapuram, which is part of Nadikudi-Srikalahasti, has got the green signal from the Commissioner, Railway Safety (CRS) to begin operations.
The CRS, after a two-day long inspection, has permitted trains to run on the new route at a maximum speed of 80 kmph. Although the SCR is not in a hurry to run passenger trains in the new section, it is likely to operate freight wagons as it facilitates direct traffic movement from Secunderabad to Bangalore without touching Guntur.
Since the new line connects the mineral belts in Guntur and Nalgonda with Rayalaseema and Karnataka, it is expected to boost traffic. The Nadikudi-Srikalahasti project is one of the key infrastructure projects taken up by the railway ministry to connect less developed Guntur, Prakasam and Nellore districts in the state.
The project has been taken up for the expansion of rail network in Andhra Pradesh and is conceptualised as an alternative route to Vijayawada-Chennai, which faces heavy traffic and interruptions during cyclones. The new line was originally sanctioned in 2011-12 at an estimated cost of Rs 2,289 crore. With costs escalating to Rs 3,500 crore, the railway ministry granted nearly Rs 1,130 crore in the last budget. The project is a joint venture between the Centre and the state.