Kerala: Train passengers have to wait longer for doubling rail track in Ernakulam-Kayamkulam corridor
The process of doubling the railway track on the Ernakulam-Kayamkulam stretch will take time as a permanent solution is also needed for doubling the Ambalapuzha-Ernakulam section, which is a single lane on the coastal road. Until then, trains being held for Vande Bharat Express are likely to continue.
Kochi: Even though the train passengers are on the path of continuous strike including protesting with their mouths covered with masks, the reality is that the travel problem on the Ernakulam-Kayamkulam route cannot be solved soon. A permanent solution to the problem cannot be found without doubling the Ambalapuzha-Ernakulam section, which is a single lane on the coastal road. Although permission has been granted for doubling the road, the land acquisition process is at a slow pace.
The Ambalapuzha – Ernakulam section is the only one-lane stretch on the coastal highway. Doubling this line will completely solve the complaints of holding trains for Vande Bharat Express.
The Railway had divided the stretch into three reaches for being doubled – Ernakulam-Kumbalam, Kumbalam-Thuravur and Thuravur-Ambalappuzha for faster execution. The estimate for the first two reaches had already been approved, but there was still concern about the state of the 46-kilometer Thuravur-Ambalappuzha corridor. Paying the landowners and extracting 4.7 hectares is a step in the right direction. Within two months, the Railways will receive it.
However, the Alappuzha district's land acquisition for road doubling is taking a long time. Not even the thorough survey of the eight hectares in the Kumbalam- Thuravur area that has to be acquired has been finished. The land will be turned over to the railway in February following all of this. Not even the Railways have finished surveying the area they want to buy on the Ambalapuzha-Thuravur segment. If the State Government provides its full support, the land purchase can be finished in a year by the end of 2024, and the track-doubling procedure can be finished in two more years, by the end of 2026. It would be necessary to haul earth and mud from Kottayam in order to lay the rail and build bridges.
To put it briefly, it will take at least three years for the goal of doubling the road to materialise. Until then, the only option is to come up with an interim solution by adjusting the train schedules in light of the passengers' challenges.