The project to revive what was once Ernakulam Goods (ERG) station into a passenger terminus is set to get a push with the Southern Railway General Manager Rakesh Misra scheduled to visit the premises on Tuesday.
The past few days saw hectic activity on the 39-acre ERG station premises and the single-line track up to Pachalam. Five excavators were engaged to clear mud and weeds from the track that is still intact.
“We identified encroachments into railway property, following which the boundary was demarcated. A notice will soon be issued to encroachers to leave the area,” said Ernakulam Area Manager of the Southern Railway P.L. Ashok Kumar.
The station can house five platforms, three pitlines and three stabling lines. Surprisingly, the amenities were not utilized though Ernakulam Junction and Town stations are hard pressed for space.
Early this year, the Southern Railway had forwarded a Rs 300-crore project to the Railway Board to renovate and revive the station and the adjoining track.
“We need Rs. 100 crore to tidy the station premises and to begin skeletal service of passenger trains. The project can kick off if funds are earmarked in the oncoming railway budget,” Mr. Ashok Kumar said.
During his visit, Mr. Misra is also expected to hold discussions with officials of the Cochin Port Trust and Food Corporation of India on transporting more goods through rail, thus decongesting highways.
He will review amenities at Harbour Terminus railway station in Wellingdon Island, which fell into disuse after train services were called off following a dredger ramming into Venduruthy bridge.
The construction of new Venduruthy railway bridge is suffering inordinate delay. The approaches on either side have to be linked with the bridge portion.
(The Hindu dt 16-12-2013)
(Malayala Manorama Kochi dt 14-12-2013)
(The Hindu dt 18-12-2013)
Goods station revival will be key item on agenda: CM
The proposal to revive Ernakulam Railway Goods (ERG) station and turn it into a passenger terminus will be one of the key issues that will be discussed at a meeting on December 27, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said at Aluva on Thursday.
The meeting is being held to ensure the speedy construction of an overbridge proposed at Pachalam level crossing. People’s representatives from the Kochi Corporation and Railway are expected to attend.
Union Minister of State K.V. Thomas said in a memorandum submitted to Union Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge that Southern Railway must revive the ERG station so that it can become a hub of suburban and MEMU trains. In a press release, he said Ernakulam Junction and Town railway stations could not handle more trains because of paucity of space. “This shows the need for a third station in the city.”
The Minister’s statement comes in the backdrop of Southern Railway General Manager Rakesh Misra’s comment that reviving the station was impossible because of technical issues. This had invited criticism from various quarters. Allegation was rife that moves were afoot to rope in private players who would end up siphoning 39 acres of prime government land.
A host of people’s representatives and NGOs had demanded that Mr. Thomas, who represents Ernakulam in the Parliament, and Hibi Eden, Ernakulam MLA, intervene in the matter so that the Railway sheds its ‘negative’ attitude. He demanded that Ernakulam Junction station be developed into a world-class station as promised in many Railway budgets. “The Railway must also begin a daily Duronto Express from the city to Bangalore, a daily Rajdhani service and daily train to Guwahati. More trains to Thiruvananthapuram from Ernakulam too are needed.”
(The Hindu dt 20-12-2013)
Hopes Rekindle for Old Railway Station Revival
On the eve of Christmas, hopes have rekindled for the much-touted proposal for reviving the Old Railway Station in Kochi. It looks like the project will get a lease of life with top officials of the Southern Railway having decided to seek the state government’s assistance on reviving the project.
The new decision comes in the wake of the General Manager Rakesh Misra’s visit to the station on Monday evening.
According to sources, the General Manager has come to a conclusion that it was possible to renew the movement of trains through the station on a small scale. Moreover, the vacant railway land, near the High Court, may be handed over for other causes which would put the Railways in a fix as they may have approach the Supreme Court in order to retrieve it.
The Railway sources said that the project can be started on a small scale initially and depending on the demand it can be extended in phases over a period of time.
The move comes as a surprise as the General Manager on his previous visit to the station premises had said that the project was far from feasible.
According to sources, the Southern Railway General Manager himself on Monday decided to write to Kerala Chief Secretary E K Bharat Bhushan seeking the state government’s assistance in reviving the Old Railway Station.
The Thiruvananthapuram Divisional Railway Manager and the Chief Administrative Officer were present with the General Manager during the visit.
After the site visit, it was concluded that movement of trains such as the 10 to 12 coach passenger trains could arrive and depart from the station. Only the encroachers on the railway tracks have to be evicted for the purpose. Also, there is no need to cut down any trees, only the branches have to be trimmed for the movement of trains. “For light traffic, the existing single line would be sufficient and no land acquisition would be required,” officials said.
The total cost of reviving the station in a skeletal form would be less than `10 crore. The Thiruvananthapuram Division had earlier submitted a proposal to revive the station for `100 crore. As the General Manager had not seen the site earlier, he had said that the total station revival would cost more than Rs 1,000 crore.
Railway officials pointed out that it was not possible to revive the station into a fully-fledged terminal immediately. “If the station has to be completely revived into a terminating hub, it is necessary to have a double track between the station and Pachalam. Also, a shunting track is a must, as incoming trains have to be reversed and so on.
If the shunting works are carried out on the available single track, it will badly affect the movement of trains. As of now, only a few trains in the morning and evening hours would arrive and depart at the station. This ispossible even without a shunting neck,” officials said.
According to plans, the General Manager will seek the assistance of the stategovernment to revive the project. “To evict the encroachers, the government should take the initiative to rehabilitate them.
Also, if the state government is willing to provide financial assistance, the project can be kicked off at the earliest,” Railway officials said.
(The Hindu dt 25-12-2013)