Saturated line capacity of key rail stretches is hampering the introduction of new trains from various cities to the State and speeding up of mail and express trains.

Congestion in the rail network and lack of terminal facilities have started affecting smooth operations and personnel of the operating wing are struggling to find path for the newly sanctioned trains.

In the Thiruvananthapuram railway division, which operates 81 express and 68 passenger trains on an average a day, the line capacity is in the range of 74 per cent to 126 per cent. In the adjacent Palakkad railway division, the line capacity is in the range of 78.03 per cent to 126.25 per cent. The average number of trains operated is 38 express trains and 34 passenger trains in the division.

Apart from hampering introduction of new trains, saturated lines resulted in track fatigue, resulting in higher maintenance cost, affecting permanent way and signal equipment. This will result in the trains running at less speed than the sanctioned speed as safety will be compromised.

Divisional Railway Manager, Thiruvananthapuram, Sunil Bajpai said Railways were facing line capacity constraints. Of course, it affected introduction of new trains and speeding up of the mail and long distance trains running through the State. “Doubling is the only solution to overcome the line capacity constraints,” he said.

The priority for Railways now is to complete track doubling from Kayamkulam to Ernakulam via Kottayam and Alappuzha. Mr. Bajpai pointed out that the Thiruvananthapuram- Kayamkulam and the Ernakulam- Shornur sectors would be bottlenecks on the rail network in future.

Efforts to utilise the Thiruvananthapuram- Kanyakumari section for more train operations had been hampered as it continued to be single line. “The survey for track doubling is on and we have commenced preparing the estimate for further development of the Nagercoil- Trichy section,” he added.

The Hindu