Primary studies for the setting up of a Thiruvananthapuram-Kannur superfast rail corridor has been completed, according to media reports.
If the study is anything to go by, the distance of 430kms between the two cities at either end of Kerala will be covered in just 145 minutes i.e. in around two and a half hours.
The proposed train would traverse a distance of 190 kms through pillar-supported bridges and cross the remaining 110kms using underground tunnels. As part of this, around 21 kms of high ground will be demolished and flattened, while 61kms will be done using the "cut-and-bankâ€™ procedure and 36kms through the "cut-and-cover" method.
The Thiruvananthapuram-Kannur rail route is the first study to be completed as part of the Modi governmentâ€™s proposed Railway Corridor Plan interconnecting the various cities of India. Since the proposed route comprises mainly pillar-supported bridges and tunnels, comparatively lesser ground area would be required for construction as opposed to a conventional rail route.
A standard gauge as used in normal rail bridges would be used in this case too. The train with a total capacity for 817 passengers would have 8 coaches including first class and business class to choose from the A/C coaches.
Only 40 minutes would be required for the train to reach Kochi as compared to the three and a half hours now required to shuttle between Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi by the Jan Shatabdi Express.
Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Chengannur, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Valaanchery, Kozhikode and Kannur would be the nine stations on this route. Since the underground tunnels would be made earthquake-resistant, any construction made over-ground on the same sites would remain unaffected in case of a natural calamity.
Not even the tremors of the underground passing train will be felt on the ground above, according to the findings of the study done in this regard. The proposed time frame for the completion of the project is from 2016-2022.
The first phase will cover the Thiruvananthapuram-Kochi sector. The entire project has an estimated expenditure of Rs 65000 crores.
A foreign loan at a low rate of interest is being considered for the same. 600 hectares of land would be needed. Over 3800 buildings would have to be razed, while around 36,000 trees would end up uprooted.
These would however, be replanted elsewhere, and in cases where that is not possible, new saplings will be planted to recompense their loss. As per the study, monetary compensation for land lost will be paid in accordance with prevailing market price value given for land accrued for building national highways.