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Kerala plans high speed rail network

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The 630-km network would cost Rs 77,000 crore

The Kerala government has formed a new public limited company, Kerala High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (KHSRCL), for implementing an ambitious high-speed rail network estimated to cost Rs 77,000 crore. The 630-km network will connect the state capital Thiruvananthapuram with Mangalore in Karnataka.

The Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) has been appointed as the nodal agency to develop the project and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) was assigned with the pre-feasibility study. The new company was formed on the basis of the pre-feasibility report submitted by DMRC, according to an official release. Further technical studies and economic evaluation are being planned.

The high-speed corridor would have two parallel tracks in the standard gauge system as is the case with Delhi Metro Rail.

It would have an alignment independent of the existing alignment of the Indian Railways in the state. The project would be implemented as a joint venture between the state government and a suitable private partner to be selected later.

Stations are proposed at the various district headquarters like Thiruvnananthapuram, Kollam, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Kannur.

T Balakrishnan, additional chief secretary (Industry and Commerce), Alkesh Kumar Sharma, managing director, KSIDC, and TP Thomas Kutty, executive director, KSIDC, are the first directors of the new company.

It would undertake a detailed feasibility study for the project and identify suitable rail technology for implementing the high-speed corridor. Notification for the acquisition of the land is under way.

The width of the land required to be acquired for the corridor is 13 metres. The high speed corridor will use a greenfield route to keep the rehabilitation to a minimum.

The current railway network in the state is very busy as traffic is high, especially in the goods transportation segment. The traffic situation is expected to become more serious once the International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT) at Vallarpadam, near Kochi, is in full swing.

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