The rail electrification of the 44 Route Km (RKM) Kollam-Punalur and 124 RKM Palakkad-Pollachi-Palani corridors are to be completed along with the 673 RKM km targeted by Southern Railway during 2021-22.
This is part of the ambitious goal to switch over to ‘Green Railways’ by electrifying the balance Broad Gauge (BG) routes by December 2023 to achieve 100 % electrification of BG routes.
The other BG stretches to be completed are Madurai-Manamadurai (45 RKM), Nagapattinam-Velankanni (10 RKM), Salem-Talaivasal (73 RKM), Pollachi-Podanur (38 RKM), Thalaivasal-Vridhachalam (66 RKM), Tiruchchirappalli-Pudukottai-Karaikudi (90 RKM), Karaikudi-Manamadurai-Virudunagar (124 RKM) and Manamadurai-Ramanathapuram (62 RKM).
The rail electrification will facilitate elimination of diesel traction resulting in significant reduction in its carbon footprint and environmental pollution. In addition, a cent % electrification by 2023 would result in annual savings of ₹ 14,500 crore for railways.
In the 5,080 RKM of Southern Railway, 3,529 RKM accounting for about 70 % has been electrified till March 2021. As envisaged in National Rail Plan & Vision 2024, Southern Railway has also geared up to complete electrification of all the BG routes under it by December 2023. As much as 187 RKM of electrified lines were commissioned in 2020-21. As of May 2021, 71 % of the BG network has been electrified. Instead of making available funds from the budget, electrification is now being financed through Extra Budgetary Resources. Around ₹21,000 crore is expected to be incurred for completion of electrification.
Besides making an environmentally friendly mode of transport, the railways can go for haulage of heavier freight trains and longer passenger trains with high haulage capacity of Electric Locomotives leading to increased throughput. Increased sectional capacity by eliminating detention on account of traction change and reduced operating and maintenance cost of Electric Loco are the benefits from the switch over.
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