Konkan Railways’ ambitious Skybus structure to be erased, sold off as scrap

The ambitious Skybus project, after lying in limbo for nine years, is finally bidding goodbye as the Konkan Railway has decided to demolish the mammoth structure.

The 1.6-km-long test track structure placed at about 10 m above the ground at Madgaon in Goa is slated to be erased and sold as scrap.

Besides the structure, two air-conditioned coaches, part of the Skybus service, will also be sold off as authorities have decided to scrap the project in the absence of qualified bidders.

“It is a sad decision to scrap the project. But there are no other options as we tried for long to make it operational,” B P Tayal, Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Konkan Railway, told PTI.

The Skybus project, first-of-its-kind in India, is a modified rail with overhead tracks on the underside of a concrete structure at a height of about 10 m from the ground. The concrete lane is supported by columns rising from the central verge of existing roads.

“We invited global expression of interest for the project twice but did not get any favourable response,” Tayal said, adding “now the maintenance cost is going up so we have to dispose it off before the corrosion sets in.”

The indigenous project had cost about Rs 50 crore. Konkan Railway has to spent about Rs 3 crore more for the dismantling the structure.

“It was the decision of Board of Directors to scrap the project. A technical committee will be set up now to suggest ways for dismantling the structure,” said the Konkan Railway CMD.

Konkan Railway is expecting to fetch Rs 5 crore from the scrap disposal of the project.

Besides scrap disposal, we will try to market the Skybus patents also, Tayal said.

The Skybus project was former PM A B Vajpayee’s New Year gift to Goa in 2003. The pilot project was to connect Mapusa to Panaji. It was supposed to be a 10.5 km route in the first phase.

Accordingly, trial runs were conducted at a 1.6 km long test-track at Madagaon. However, a mishap occurred on September, 2004 during the trial raising serious concerns about passenger safety, forcing the authorities to re-evaluate the system.

Though the Konkan Railway had tried to revive the project on its own after the global expression of interests failed to evoke the desired response, it could not be materialised due to financial constraint.


Published in: on August 4, 2013 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Rail bridge over Chenab will be world’s highest

The world’s highest railway bridge — five times the height of Qutub Minar and 35 metres taller than Eiffel Tower — will come up over the Chenab river on the under construction rail link to the Kashmir Valley.

The bridge will rise 359 metres over the Chenab, 65 km from Katra, on the 73-km Katra-Dharam section of the ambitious Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link Project. This section alone will cost around Rs 5,005 crore.

Konkan Railway Corporation, with experience of building 179 major bridges on the path-breaking rail link through the Konkan region, will execute this particular section.

The 1,315-metre bridge will use up 25,000 million tonnes of steel and will be an engineering marvel. “Work is going on in full swing,” said Rajesh Agarwal, general manager, Konkan Railways.

The world’s tallest rail bridge is on France’s Tarn river and its tallest pillar rises 340 metres while the actual height at which trains run on the bridge is 300 metres. “The Chenab bridge will be the highest in the world,” Northern Railway chief administrative officer Chahatey Ram said.

Observing that wind speed at the height of 359 metres may go up to 266 kmph, the engineers have decided not to allow trains crossing the Chenab bridge if the wind velocity is more than 90 kmph. The railways has designed the signalling system at the bridge in such a manner that it shows the stop light automatically when wind speed is more than 90 kmph.

Considering the inaccessible terrain of the Himalayan mountains, the bridge will get a special coat of paint with a life span of around 35 years to protect it from the tough weather.

Besides the steep topography and fragile geology, engineers constructing the Katra-Dharam line also have to factor in security concerns. While Railway Police (GRP) and Railway Protection Force provide security to engineers and workers implementing the project, the support of locals is coming in handy. “Only two incidents of terrorists targeting the project have been reported since work was started,” said Shovkat Malik, SSP, GRP, Kashmir Range.

The railways has constructed a helipad to transport construction material and equipment. For the 73-km section which involves construction of 63 km of tunnels and 7.5 km of bridges, Konkan Railways is constructing 176 km of roads to access the project sites. Railways has already constructed 104 km of roads which is giving connectivity to remote villages which were till now inaccessible.


Konkan Railways adds new RO-RO route between Verna-Surathkal

Konkan Railway (KRCL) has started its new Roll-on Roll-off (RO-RO) train service between Verna (near Goa) and Surathkal (near Mangalore). Duration for covering the 305 km line will be 12 hrs for Kolad-Verna, 20 hrs for Kolad-Surathkal, and five hrs for Verna-Surathkal. The alternative route by road between the two destinations by road would take about 24 hrs, 40 hrs, and 10 hrs respectively, a statement said here today.

KRCL operates two other RO-RO services – a 417 km service between Kolad (145 km from Mumbai) and Verna – and a second 721 km service between Kolad and Surathkal. Under the RO-RO service, loaded goods trucks are carried piggy back on rail flats. The service is being run only on Konkan Railway. Road transporters save on diesel, maintenance and wear and tear of their vehicles. The service also decongests the National Highway and is cheaper and more eco-friendly than the road transport, KRCL said.

KRCL has transported more than 1,60,000 trucks and has earned over Rs 120 cr since its inception in 1999.

The Verna-Surathkal service started on June 1.


Published in: on June 7, 2009 at 7:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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