Electrification of the stretch between Masagram and Bankura in West Bengal, would help trains avoid the congested Howrah suburban line and cut travel time between the North East and south India, a South Eastern Railway official said. The electrification of the 118 kilometre long Masagram-Bankura route, the only stretch waiting to get electrified in the whole Adra division of South Eastern Railway (SER), would also ensure a single traction for trains. "This means that we will be able to use electric engines for the entire route from the North East to the south instead of having to change to diesel engines for the non-electrified section," SER spokesman Sanjoy Ghosh told PTI. "Also, getting caught in the busy Howrah-Bardhaman and Howrah-Kharagpur lines will soon be a thing of the past," he said. Though the stretch between Kharagpur to Bankura via Masagram would be lengthier by 44 kilometre, avoiding these congested suburban sections, where EMU locals ply, would lead to lesser travel time for the express trains, Ghosh said. Using a single traction would entail a lesser detention en route, he noted. "A large number of patients and students travel between the North East and southern destinations of Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai every day," he said. Howrah station is choc a bloc with trains throughout the day and finds it hard to allot platforms for trains, leading to long waiting time outside the station, Ghosh added. The 2018-19 Union Budget has sanctioned electrification of the 118-km stretch of Bankura-Mashagram rail link at a proposed cost of Rs 92.8 crore. The SER spokesman said that the completion of 24-km rail link between Bowachandi and Khana Junction stations would also help reduce travel time for trains between the north-east and various destinations in the south and the west. The route, which was sanctioned in the Railway Budget of 2005-06, had faced land acquisition hurdles leading to delay in completion. "The Railways has deposited Rs 14.34 crore with the West Bengal government for land acquisition for the rail link.
Around 90 per cent of the land required for the project has been handed over to SER," Ghosh said. He said that the construction work was in full swing on the stretch and foundation and structure of a major bridge over River Damodar have been laid. This Bowachandi-Khana route will serve as an important link between SER's Adra division and Eastern Railway's Howrah division, reducing distance between Kharagpur and Khana by 19 kilometre, Ghosh said.
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