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Semi High Speed Rail to Connect with Kochi Metro at Kakkanad

The proposed Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod Semi High Speed Rail (SHSR) will have an integrated station at Kakkanad near Infopark here with the second phase of Kochi Metro, for the benefit of people coming to the city from various parts of the state, said Shri Tom Jose IAS, Chief Secretary, Government of Kerala.

Speaking at a presentation on SHSR,  called Silver Line, organised by Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) and Better Kochi Response Group (BKRG) here last evening ,  Tom Jose  said  this integrated station will enable  passengers  to reach various parts of the sprawling city from  when Kochi Metro is extended from Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to Kakkanad .

The government is also planning to have a loop line for the Kochi Metro connecting Marine Drive and Boat Jetty for the benefit of commuters as well as tourists travelling from Fort Kochi and Vypeen Islands, he said. “The loop line will start from Madhava Pharmacy Junction and rejoin at Jose Junction via Menaka. The passengers can enjoy the real beauty of Kochi through this route”, he said.

The Silver Line project, a joint venture of Kerala Government and Ministry of Railways, is the most affordable solution for the transportation problems of Kerala as it will sharply reduce travel time from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod to four hours, he said.

“Even if we go for four-lane National Highways, we have to face vehicle congestion after five years. The only solution for this is the Silver Line project which will help a passenger to travel from the South to North of Kerala in four hours,” Tom Jose added.

V. Ajith Kumar, Managing Director, KRDCL, who made the presentation on the Silver Line project, said 27 feeder stations are planned to the 10 major stations as part of the 532-km long rail line, so as to ensure that maximum number of people benefited from the project.

The KRDCL had prepared the feasibility report on the project, to be built at a cost of Rs 66,079 crore, and to be completed in five years.  The maximum speed of the train will be 200 kmph and the ticket fare is proposed at Rs 2.75 per km, he said.

A project that fully adheres  to green protocol,  the highlights of  its construction  include recycling of  steel and concrete, diversion of construction waste from landfills through reuse and recycling, use of new, low emission construction equipment and buildings based on the standard of Indian Green Building Council. Around 11% of the corridor will be elevated over the cities, Ajith Kumar said.

Around 1,200 hectares of land have to be acquired for the project. The alignment of the rail will be finalised only after the aerial survey is completed, for which the State Government had already received the clearance from Defence Ministry, he said.

Between Thiruvananthapuram and Tirur in central Kerala, the line will pass by a stretch that is different from the existing railway line, since it has a large number of curves that limit the speed. From Tirur onward, the line will run parallel to the existing track up to Kasaragod. There will be underpasses for road traffic at every 500 metres, so that it will not hamper the movement of people in any manner.

By 2028, the project will sharply reduce road vehicles including trucks, thereby eliminating approximately 2,37,663 tons of carbon dioxide emission. The average number of travellers a day will be 82,266 by 2028, 116,681 by 2040 and 147,120 in 2051.

The project will create 50,000 jobs during the construction and 11,000 once it becomes functional.  Out of its estimated cost of Rs 66,079-crore project, Rs 34,454 crore will be raised  as loans, Rs 7,720 each provided by the Union and State Governments, said Ajith Kumar.

The feasibility study, done by Paris-based Systra , had projected  the  internal rate of return  from the project as 5.6 per cent and 8.1 per cent for 30 and 50 years,  respectively. Planned urban development of the cities along the corridor and development of new cities down the SHSR line will expedite the socio-economic development of the areas served by the line, he added.

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