With safety inspection of last stretch of 20km between Bhimalgondi-Bhandarkund completed on Saturday (22nd August 2020) last week, decks have been cleared to throw open the 149km broad gauge railway line between Itwari-Chhindwara under the South East Central Railway (SECR).
SECR officials said the inspection by commissioner of railway safety (CRS for southern & south eastern circle) AK Rai went well and a report will be submitted soon. The inspection was done by motor trolley and special coach at 92 kmph speed in the presence of DRM Shobhana Bandopadhayaya and other senior officials. The line has a potential to run at a speed of 70 kmph. The upgraded line is expected to open in a month.
The narrow gauge line was completely closed for traffic on December 1, 2015. After commissioning of the line, many passengers from small tribal hamlets for whom the narrow gauge trains were lifeline will get new transport facility to the busy town of MP and Nagpur.
The project was announced in 2008 railway budget at an estimated cost of Rs1,421 crore. However, physical work on the line started only after narrow gauge train operations were closed. There are 13 stations and 14 passenger halts between NagpurChhindwara. The final call to open the line will be taken by the Railway Board.
The project is running behind schedule as the final stretch between Bhimalgondi-Bhandarkund (20km) was slated to be completed by May 31, 2019. Earlier, route between Chhindwara-Bhandarkund was opened in January 2018, followed by opening of tracks between Itwari-Kelwad in February 23, 2019 and later Kelwad-Bhimalgondi.
Though entire line passes through ghat sections, work on 20km Bhimalgondi-Bhandarkund was most challenging. The stretch has one 45-metre high bridge, 26 big and 275 small bridges and two tunnels of 700 metres and 120 metres each. “It’s the most difficult section with sharp curves and hills. The upgraded line now becomes a full circle from Nagpur connecting the main Delhi line via Junnardeo,” said DCM Anurag Kumar Singh.
Rai also conducted inspection of electrification between Lamta-Nainpur. Work on only 25km route between Samnapur-Lamta is remaining. Its completion will make available another line between Nagpur-Gondia-Jabalpur. Presently, trains to Jabalpur operate via Itarsi through main line of Central Railway.
New line to boost operations Work on Nagpur-Chhindwara (149km) narrow gauge to broad gauge conversion project announced in 2008 Total project cost Rs1,421cr Till now, work on 127km completed This includes Nagpur-Kelwad (48km), Kelwad-Bhimlagondi (44km) and Chhindwara-Bhandarkund (35km) The project involves 28 big and 307 small bridges and 2 tunnels Chhindwara-Bhandarkund (35km) work completed in January 2018 Bhandarkund-Bimlagondi (20km) final inspection over on August 22, 2020.