Mangaluru, Aug 29, 2019: Southern Railway authorities are hopeful of laying a parallel track for about 400 m on the landslip-affected Kulashekara stretch on the Mangaluru-Mumbai line by Thursday afternoon to restore train traffic that has remained suspended since Friday last.
Southern Railways Palakkad Divisional Railway Manager Pratap Singh Shami, who arrived in Mangaluru on Wednesday to oversee the restoration work, told The Hindu that the parallel track could be ready by Thursday evening if it does not rain heavily.
“On Wednesday too there were spells of heavy rain in the morning and afternoon disrupting restoration work, while bringing down more muck,” he said.
Ballast has been filled in about 200 m for the proposed parallel track between the affected track and the other side of the hill-embankment which is protected by a retaining wall after removing muck from that location, Mr. Shami said. Filling ballast on the balance of the stretch and laying rails could be completed in a day, he added.
He said that enough men and machinery have been deployed for the restoration work, which gets complicated whenever it rains. Water flowing through the adjacent hillock, which cannot be controlled, continues to bring the muck down in the form of slurry on the track, which is in a low-lying area. Removing slurry is a herculean task, he said and added that the work on the parallel track and clearing the existing track are going on simultaneously.
Asked about the quantum of loss following the suspension of train traffic for nearly a week now, Mr. Shami said that the Railways is rather concerned over restoration of the traffic than the loss being incurred. Besides cancellation/diversion of passenger trains, the Railways could not operate a good number of goods trains, particularly to and from the New Mangalore Port, because of the line blockage.
The situation is very serious and hence, the Railways decided to lay the parallel track, he said and added that he would be camping in Mangaluru till train traffic is restored.