Following public outcry against the Left Democratic Front government's semi-high-speed railway project, and in light of the Union government's lacklustre response, the state is now considering transforming the project to accommodate both semi-high-speed and high-speed train services.
The projected 530-kilometre-long Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod semi-high speed standard-gauge railway link costs Rs 64,000 crore and necessitates considerable land acquisition.
To address concerns about environmental effects and state division, the new idea proposes that 95 per cent of the railway line be built on elevated structures, with the remaining five per cent going through underground passages.
E Sreedharan, a seasoned expert in railway projects, has been enlisted for the new project and has already submitted a preliminary report to the State.
Sreedharan expressed his belief that the semi-high speed rail project currently awaiting approval from the Union government would become obsolete within the next few decades, reports The Hindu.
He pointed out that the national railway plan aims to establish a network of high-speed connections between major cities across the country.
According to Sreedharan, the construction of a new high-speed railway line from Thiruvananthapuram to Kannur could be completed in just five or six years at a cost of less than Rs one lakh crore. He suggested that entrusting the project to either the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) or the Indian Railways would be an efficient approach.
The section from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod was planned to be built by K-Rail, a joint venture of the Kerala government and the Railway Ministry.
Kerala government's ambitious Silverline project is expected to cut travel time from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod to four hours. The trains operate at a speed of 200 km per hour.
The SilverLine alignment of the line has been selected per Kerala's longitudinal geography to cover the area and provide maximum benefit.
The SilverLine expects a ridership of about 70,000 passengers a day. It is estimated to carry about 1,330 travellers in one direction during peak hours.
Multilateral agencies fund the project, and the Railways and the state government will need to provide land and other allied expenses.
The project also aims to introduce a roll-on/roll-off (RORO) train service to transport vehicles such as trucks, cars and lorries in an environmentally friendly manner.
SilverLine trains will depart from the state capital and stop at Kollam, Chengannur, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Tirur, Kozhikode, and Kannur before arriving in Kasaragod.
SilverLine will bring remarkable changes in local commute, by improving the travel time and quality of transportation. Every kilometre travelled by a person on semi high-speed rail is a kilometre not travelled in an automobile.
There will be a substantial reduction in road accidents due to decongestion on roads. SilverLine also provides last mile connectivity which will transform people’s perception towards public transportation.
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