Insights on speed enhancement achieved by Southern Railway and works in progress in Tamil Nadu

Southern Railway is taking persistent efforts to increase the maximum permissible speed of trains o­n key routes in Tamil Nadu. As part of systematic and planned efforts to strengthen track, traction, and signalling systems, the zone focuses o­n upgrading speed in the Group A and Golden QuadrilateralGolden Diagonal (GQ-GD) routes as well as the identified Group B routes in Tamil Nadu.

More Details:

  • Group A and Group B routes are those Railway lines in which the speed can be maximum increased to 160 kmph and 130 kmph respectively, as per Railway Manual.

Speed raise to 130 Kmph o­n two vital sections completed, sanction is awaited:

  • In Chennai – Renigunta section (134.78 Km) falling under Group B, also a Golden Quadrilateral route, the works for speed enhancement from the existing 110 Kmph to 130 Kmph have been completed already.
  • The sanction from the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) is expected to be given in the first week of February 2023.
  • In Arakkonam – Jolarpettai (144.54 Km), the crucial section which handles premium trains like Vande Bharat and Shatabdi Express, all the minimum required works in Arakkonam – Jolarpettai section has been completed and an application to CRS for sanctioning the increase of section speed to 130 kmph is expected to be submitted in first week of February 2023.
  • Once the speed enhancement is sanctioned, trains running o­n these important routes in Tamil Nadu will be operated at higher speeds greatly easing the travel time for passengers.

Sections in which speed has been increased to 110 kmph:

  • Recently, speed enhancement works have been completed and sectional speed has been increased to 110 Kmph in Chengalpattu – Arakkonam section from 90 kmph, Tambaram – Chengalpattu III line from 90 kmph, Tirunelveli – Tiruchendur section from 70 kmph.
  • In the above mentioned sections, the speed enhancement works were carried out and completed in the last two months.

Given below are the sections in which sectional speed has already been increased:

Speed enhancement works already completed: Chennai-Gudur Section now at 130 kmph

  • Chennai – Gudur section (134.3 Km), which is categorized as Group A Golden Quadrilateral route was authorized fit for running trains at 130 Kmph o­n 5th October 2022.
  • With this, the section became the first section in Southern Railway capable of handling trains at 130 Kmph.
  • Further, Speed enhancement works  are in progress in Jolarpettai – Podanur and Chennai – Dindigul sections (Group B routes).

Speed increase to 110 Kmph:

  • Currently in a total of 2485 route kms in Southern Railway, trains are running at 110 kmph which includes, Chennai – Coimbatore, Chennai – Madurai, Erode – Trichy routes.
  • Trains are running at 110 kmph in the sections of  Vriddhachalam – Salem from 80 Kmph, Thanjavur – Ponmalai from 100 Kmph, Villupuram – Katpadi from 50-80 Kmph, Nagercoil – Tirunelveli from 100 Kmph, Villupuram – Puducherry from 100 Kmph, Thanjavur – Karaikal from 50-90 Kmph, Coimbatore North –Mettupalayam from 90 Kmph.
  • It is proposed to enhance the maximum permissible speed to 110 Kmph in the sections of Tirunelveli – Tenkasi (70 Kmph*), Salem – Karur- Namakkal (100 Kmph*), Cuddalore Port – Vriddhachalam (60/75), Dindigul – Pollachi (100 Kmph*) and Madurai – Vanchi Maniyachchi (100 Kmph*) sections.

Existing speed of the section:

Speed enhancement works:

  • The work speed enhancement involves a comprehensive upgradation of all the infrastructure required for train operations. Major work to be undertaken are listed below:
    • Complete track renewal work – replacing track with 60 kg rail wherever required.
    • Strengthening of bridges
    • Easing of curves wherever feasible
    • Barricading for construction of walls at locations where there is heavy trespassing.
    • Improving signalling system by providing automatic signalling /double distancing signal
    • Improving OHE infrastructure- removing of infringement to enhance the speed
  • Prior to the speed upgrade, a series of trial runs will be conducted by Railways and RDSO for assessing the fitness of tracks, traction, signals and rolling stock.

Source: Southern Railway- Press Release | Image Credit (representational): Southern Railway