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Gauge conversion work accelerated

Syed Muthahar Saqaf

— File Photo

A view of Tiruvarur Railway station.

TIRUCHI: The pace of broad gauge (BG) conversion work in the Mayiladuthurai-Tiruvarur section has been accelerated for completion by June.

The project to lay BG track for 38 km, being executed by the Construction Wing of the Southern Railways with an outlay of Rs. 210 crore, commenced in March 2009.

It includes construction of two crossing stations, two halt stations, 19 major bridges, and 193 minor bridges. There will be 22 manned level-crossings and 10 unmanned level-crossings. Designating Peralam and Nannilam as crossing stations will enable the halting and crossing of trains in both directions which will avoid delay. While Peralam is 16 km away, Nannilam is 25 km from Mayiladuthurai. Manganallur and Punthottam will be the halting stations sans signals, where the trains will halt only for entry and exit of passengers. These stations will be manned by the agents.

Over 85 per cent of the work on this project had already been completed, and senior Railway officials were expected to inspect the progress shortly, according to railway sources here.

Once this project is completed, the Railways is likely to operate direct trains from Nagore / Nagapattinam to Chennai on the shortest route via Tiruvarur and Mayiladuthurai. At present the Nagore-Chennai overnight express trains take the circuitous route of Tiruvarur-Thanjavur-Kumbakonam -Mayiladuthurai.

Devotees from Karnataka and the western districts of Tamil Nadu visiting Velankanni, Tirunallar, and Nagore, will get a direct train facility, after many years. The Railway Ministry has already announced the extension of the train number 572 / 571 Bangalore-Salem passenger train to Nagore, once the Mayiladuthurai-Tiruvarur section is thrown open for train traffic.

The Railways has planned to take up gauge conversion work from Tiruvarur to Karaikudi, and between Tiruthuraipoondi and Agasthiampalli, shortly. The works on laying new lines between Nagapattinam and Tiruthuraipoondi via Tirukkuvalai, and from Needamangalam to Mannargudi had begun, the sources added.

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