The 530.6 km Standard Gauge 1435 mm line is expected to be completed by 2025 with the work starting this year. Kerala
Rail Development Corporation (K-Rail's) Board has approved the Detailed Project Report (DPR) and alignment for the proposed Rs 639.4 billion Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod Semi High Speed Rail corridor project.
The DPR will now be submitted to the Government of Kerala
for approval, following which it will go to the Ministry of Railways, Niti Aayog and to the Central Cabinet.
The DPR was prepared by Paris-based Systra for the corridor which proposes to construct railway lines between Thiruvananthapuram and Tirur as a Green Field Corridor and between Tirur and Kasaragod as a parallel to the existing Railway alignment.
According to State administration, it is a dream project called ‘Silverline’, the SHSR corridor will spur the economic and social development of the state and will enable running of trains at an operational speed of 200 Km per hour. This will facilitate to reach Ernakulam in one-and-a-half hours and up north Kasaragod in four hours from the state capital.
As per the DPR, the alignment of the corridor is the same as that was approved earlier as part of the feasibility report, except for some minor modifications of plus or minus 10 to 50 meters to avoid religious/heritage structures.
The 530.6 km Standard Gauge 1435 mm line is expected to be completed by 2025 with the work starting this year.
While 52 per cent of the total cost will be raised as a loan, the remaining expenditure will be met by the Centre and the State Government and by the participation of financial institutions. The Financial Internal Rate of Return of the project is estimated to be 8.49 per cent over 50 years. The line is expected to have a ridership of 79,934 persons per day in 2025-26.
“Cutting through the entire length of the state covering 11 districts and touching major towns, Silverline is going to be a game-changer as far as infrastructure development of Kerala
is concerned. It will increase connectivity and bring economic hubs, airports, health facilities and cultural amenities across the state close,” said V Ajith Kumar, Managing Director, K-Rail.
He said the corridor, which will have 11 stations including Cochin airport, would give a big boost to tourism which plays a major role in the state’s economy.
A joint venture of the Ministry of Railways and Kerala Government, ahead of the preparation of the DPR a series of scientific studies including Aerial LIDAR survey had been completed, looking into various aspects of the project including the environmental impact before finalizing the alignment.
EMU Type trains of nine cars with a seating capacity of 675 are to be operated on the line. There will be business class and standard class seats on coaches.
During the construction stage, the project will provide thousands of jobs and boost an entire set of downstream business activities, which will especially be a social and economic boom in the post-Covid 19 scenario.