Southern Railway has initiated the route preparation works for running private trains. The route preparation work for running the high-speed private trains involve upgradation of tracks and bridges, straightening out curves on platforms and tracks and tweak crossings.
Once operational private trains will ply from Chennai to Madurai, Trichy, Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari, Coimbatore, Mangalore, Mumbai, Howrah and Delhi. “The line should be fenced, signals improved, crossings minimized, level crossings and speed restrictions eliminated and the entire length of route should be doubled,” said an official.
On Chennai-Coimbatore route, the entire line is doubled. But on Chennai-Kanyakumari route, some stretches have only single line. These need to be completed before private-run trains can start. “Doubling work and laying multiple tracks are underway and are expected to be completed well within two years.
This is a major project and it looks like the route was selected because railway board is confident of completing the work,” he added. The dedicated freight corridor may also be ready in two to three years so that goods trains will have separate tracks and won’t slow down express trains on major metro routes.
“If signalling is not improved or level crossings are not removed by building subways and flyovers and other work is not completed on time, private trains may have an average speed of 60 kmph to 70 kmph from Chennai. If that is the case, then railway trains may have to be slowed down,” a source said. The rules mandate that no railway-run train can be operated an hour before or after departure of a private train