Defunct French era rail line may come back to life

Puducherry Railway Projects Coordination Committee comprising government officials and engineers inspected all the 25 known locations in Karaikal region of the Union Territory where a road crosses the proposed alignment of Peralam- Karaikal new line project sanctioned in Railway Budget of 2013-14.

The new line is to be laid on the same route as the old railway line which existed during the French period, but was subsequently removed by the Southern Railways after Karaikal became part of the Indian Union.

During the inspection by the team on Tuesday, it was observed that part of the alignment is now used by the agriculturists as rural road and some encroachments are observed in the urban limits, according to Gopal Dalmia, member of the Coordination Committee.

It is evident that the New Line Project is not a revival of the old MG line or a gauge conversion of a dormant route. It is a full- fledged new line on the land that is still available. All the road crossings have to be addressed afresh, he said.

In some places a Limited Height Subway (LHS) might be the best solution while at other locations these may not be the best option due to their proximity to water channels. The railways may willingly construct the subway, but keeping it free from flooding will be the State responsibility, suggested the committee.

There are locations which are suited for Road Over Bridge (ROB) and they have to be investigated in detail before the site can be selected for ROB, said Dalmia

The Thirunallar halt station in the former days was a rudimentary side platform accessed from the north. On inspection it was observed that this station needs to be planned well, considering the number of pilgrims visiting the shrine. Ambagarattur and Pattecouddy station old sites were visited. Both the locations need to be planned with 25 years horizon.

There were several locations where electric high tension and low tension over head lines across the alignment. At two locations power grid lines also cross. The crossing of cables also needs to be addressed.

Much water has flowed down the Arsalar since the MG line was uprooted. The BG Line has to be considered as New Line Project. The railways have already cleared up the vegetation from much of the old formation.


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