|With electrification works on the Tiruchi–Erode broad gauge section via Karur reaching the final stages, diesal engines may soon have to give way to electric locomotives.|
The Central Organisation for Railway Electrification (CORE) under the Ministry of Railways, which is executing the overhead electrification works on the 140-km stretch, has targeted to complete the entire works and commissioning by January-end.
The electrification project, which gained momentum in the beginning of this month, is poised for completion in a year’s time — the fastest with respect to completion of OHE works in Southern Railway zone, CORE officials say.
Ahead of commissioning, CORE has planned to carry out trial runs on the newly electrified stretch with an electric locomotive before inviting the Commissioner of Railway Safety to carry out the mandatory inspection.
As part of the electrification project, which has been executed at a cost of nearly ₹130 crore, CORE has installed 210 portals and some 3,500 masts along the whole stretch.
Three sub-stations have also been established at Velliyanai, Pugalur and Pettavaithalai as part of the project that kick-started in November 2016. The sub-stations works are in the final stage of completion.
Although the target for completion is set for March, CORE expedited the project and advanced it for completion and commissioning before January. “The electrification project is in the final stage, and permission for charging the line has been given. The entire works are targeted to be completed and commissioned by January last week”, said a senior CORE official.
Upon carrying out trial runs using a light electric locomotive, CORE has planned to invite the Commissioner of Railway Safety to carry out the statutory inspection along the entire stretch from Tiruchi to Erode, the official added.
Once the sanction from the Commissioner of Railway Safety comes through, electric locomotives will be introduced. At present, all passenger and freight trains operated on this section are being hauled by diesel locomotives.
The Tiruchi–Erode section via Karur will become another electrified stretch after the Chennai–Tiruchi–Madurai segment. Electrification will enable faster acceleration of trains and pave the way for operation of Mainline Electric Multiple Unit trains instead of diesel ones. Electrification works are also simultaneously underway in the Tiruchi–Thanjavur–Tiruvarur–Karaikal and Karur–Salem–Dindigul sections by CORE.