Southern Railway to electrify 1,500km of lines in three years

Southern Railway will electrify 1,400 route km of lines in three years as per a deadline set by the Union ministry. This will ensure smoother running of trains across all routes without changing locomotives from electric to diesel. Now, electric locomotives need to be delinked and diesel needs to be attached on some of the non-trunk routes.

Of the total 4,834 route km, 3381km has already been electrified. Railway minister Piyush Goyal, in a response submitted in the Lok Sabha, said a schedule has been fixed for funding projects that are at different stages and that the ministry plans to complete electrification of all lines in the country by 2023.

Southern Railway has a better track record of electrification compared to the zones that have similar size in terms of route km. The main routes connecting all major cities in the state are electrified. However, Western Railway which has more or less similar route km has made better progress. Three electrification projects of Southern Railway have gotten funds for the current financial year. The Tambaram-Chengalpet third line, which is nearing completion and has received ₹10 lakh, will be electrified along with the construction work.

Villupuram-Dindigul doubling with electrification has received ₹1 lakh and Omalur-Mettur dam with electrification work got ₹56 crore. A railway official said most lines in Tamil Nadu have been electrified barring a few small sections in Trichy and the ghat section of Sengottai-Kollam route.

“Electrification is not a major concern for Southern Railway as far as major routes are concerned. It is difficult to do the work on the ghat section,” he added. “To expedite electrification of railway lines in the country, various steps have been taken, including award of large size engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contracts, better project monitoring mechanism and decentralization of powers to field units,” Goyal added.