South Central Railway (SCR) has been firming up infrastructure upgrade expeditiously in the last few years in taking up doubling, tripling and in a few cases, even quadrupling of railway lines in order to run more trains — passengers/freight.
Its very first quadrupling project along with electrification and automatic signalling system between Moula Ali and Ghatkesar for 12.2 km was completed three years ago under MMTS Phase II works at a cost of ₹200 crore while doubling and electrification between 22.4 km Moula Ali and Sanathnagar is underway under the same project.
But, the railways attempt to bypass Secunderabad railway station to run more freight trains, thus freeing the space to run more passenger or local suburban MMTS trains may not fructify unless the 8-km section between Moula Ali and Secunderabad station is also further strengthened with more lines, say railway officials.
Thus far, there has been no move to triple or quadruple railway lines in this section though it would be possible to run more passenger trains to reach Secunderabad station and on time, only after this work is completed, accept senior railway officials, pleading anonymity.
“Sufficient land is available and hence, there is no need for land acquisition on this section but, for some reason this bit was not taken up. What is the point of tripling or quadrupling till the suburbs, when access to the main station is restricted? Already, we have many trains waiting on the outskirts to get in,” they point out.
In fact, there is an ‘engine line’ which is used only for movement of locomotives to the Lallaguda loco-shed for maintenance. A proposal was once mooted to convert this line into a full-fledged one for running regular traffic but it was not pursued seriously, observed officials.
But CPRO Ch. Rakesh has a different take. “The section between Secunderabad and Moula Ali was always on the radar. This stretch was decided to be taken up in the last stage as the tripling works are already underway up to Kazipet. We will soon take up this work and the proposal is with the Railway Board for necessary approvals as the Secunderabad station after redevelopment can accommodate more lines,” he explained.
He also clarified that the doubling and electrification of the 10-km Moula Ali-Malkajgiri-Sitaphalmandi section as part of the MMTS Phase II works too is scheduled to be completed in January 2024 along with the remaining works.
SCR’s triple line works this year are – sections of 220 km ₹337.52 crore Kazipet-Vijayawada, sections of 201 km ₹450.86 crore Kazipet-Balharshah, doubling of sections of 288 km ₹800 crore Vijayawad-Gudur, sections of 400 km ₹980 crore Guntur-Guntakal , 11 km ₹90.6 crore of remaining section of Gooty-Dharmavaram, sections of 248 km ₹60 crore Guntur-Bibinagar, etc.