Published On:June 22 2024
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Konkan Railway Awaits Railway Board Approval for 350 km Track Doubling, Says Official

Konkan Railway Awaits Railway Board Approval for 350 km Track Doubling, Says Official

The Konkan Railway (KR) is planning to double tracks on select stretches of its 741-km corridor, which traverses challenging and rugged terrain, and is awaiting approval from the Railway Board, according to a top official.

KR Chief Managing Director Santosh Kumar Jha announced on Thursday that the proposal for "patch doubling" covers 350 km between Kankavali-Sawantwadi and Madgaon-Thokur stations. The proposal was submitted to the board about a year ago, and KR is now waiting for the green light.

"Full doubling at a time is not possible. We are hopeful to get sanctions for patch doubling. Then we can do patchwise doubling," Jha explained, addressing questions about increasing the carrying capacity of Konkan Railway.

Currently, KR operates 52 passenger trains and 18 goods trains daily through Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, and a small stretch in Kerala. Only about 50 km of the line, between Roha and Veer stations, is double-tracked. Running more services is challenging on single lines, as trains need to be sidelined for passing opposite or same directional trains.

Jha highlighted the significant cost differences for track doubling: Rs 15 to 20 crore per km on flat stretches, compared to Rs 80 to 100 crore in hilly terrain. The section between Veer and Kankavali is particularly costly due to its hilly landscape, featuring multiple tunnels, bridges, and gorges. However, doubling on flatter terrain is more feasible.

Most land for this expansion was acquired when KR was established decades ago, minimizing the need for fresh acquisitions. Safety challenges, such as boulder falls, landslides, and track washouts, particularly during the monsoon, necessitate reduced train speeds between June 10 and October 31 each year, affecting the number of services.

KR achieved significant financial milestones in FY 2022-23, crossing the Rs 5,000 crore turnover mark for the first time and earning a net profit of Rs 279 crore. In the last financial year (FY24), profit after tax was Rs 301 crore.

"The Konkan Railway is on a development path. We are trying to enhance passenger amenities, carry more and more freight, and launch more projects," Jha stated. Over the past decade, KR has invested Rs 104.5 crore in passenger amenities such as station platforms and foot over bridges. This year, an additional Rs 5.5 crore will be spent on such improvements.

Addressing overcrowding during the annual Ganpati festival, Jha mentioned plans to increase the number of special trains to accommodate the rush.

ET





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