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Villupuram-Cuddalore stretch to be electrified by March

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Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), which is executing an overhead electrification project in the 228-km Villupuram-Thanjavur main line section, is targeting to complete the first stretch from Villupuram to Cuddalore by March.

Installation of electric masts is nearing completion with overhead wiring works apace in the 46-km stretch. Simultaneously, RVNL has also commenced civil works in the next stretch from Cuddalore to Mayiladuthurai via Sirkazhi and Chidambaram under the project that is being executed at a cost of ₹250 crore.

The Villupuram-Thanjavur main line is one of the major sections falling under the vast limits of Tiruchi Railway Division. It serves as an alternate route to Tiruchi and other important destinations in southern districts and to Chennai from Tiruchi.

Electrification of the main line section, covering religious towns such as Chidambaram, Vaitheeswarankoil, Mayiladuthurai and Kumbakonam, was entrusted to RVNL, a Government of India Enterprise under the Ministry of Railways to carry out projects on a fast-track basis.

The other ongoing overhead electrification project in the Tiruchi-Thanjavur-Tiruvarur-Karaikal broad gauge section also falls under the Tiruchi Railway Division and is being executed by Central Organisation for Railway Electrification under the Ministry of Railways.

A senior RVNL official told The Hindu on Friday that the ongoing electrification project was being carried out in phases with the first stretch from Villupuram to Cuddalore targeted for completion by March. A majority of the around 1,600 electric masts planned for the portion had been laid with overhead wiring works underway. A traction sub-station under the project would come up at Cuddalore and Mayiladuthurai.

A joint inspection by RVNL and Southern Railway officials would be done once the works were completed. The second stage of electrification works would be carried out in full swing from Cuddalore to Mayiladuthurai from April onwards. The project also included electrification of a separate 38-km-stretch from Mayiladuthurai junction to Tiruvarur via Peralam, Punthottam and Nannilam.

The RVNL official said electrification project up to Thanjavur would be completed in 2021, which would pave the way for operation of passenger and freight trains hauled by electric locomotives which has better acceleration than diesel locomotives.

The Villupuram-Thanjavur main line section has been witnessing a spurt in rail passenger movements over the years. The demand for laying a second track has been consistently made by rail passenger associations to enable operation of more trains in this section in the wake of robust growth in passenger traffic.


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