An Agreement was signed between Government of Kerala and Ministry of Railways to form a company to compliment Indian Railways in building Railway infrastructure in the State of Kerala as per the aspirations of people. A Joint Venture Company was constituted on 3rd January 2017 named as Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (K-Rail).

K-Rail undertakes project development works for an identified basket of projects, which will inter-alia include surveys, preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR) and getting requisite approval, processing for sanctioning of identified projects and implementation of the sanctioned projects.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS (AS ON DATE)

Shri. Tom Jose IAS
Chairman, Chief Secretary, Govt. of Kerala

Shri. Rajesh Kumar Singh IAS
Non Whole Time Director, Principal Secretary (Finance)

Shri. K.R. Jyothilal IAS
Non Whole Time Director, Principal Secretary (Transport)

Shri. Shaji Zachariah IRSE
Non Whole Time Director, Chief Engineer (Construction), Southern Railway

Shri. Vijay Garg IRSE
Non Whole Time Director, ED, Railway Board

Shri. V. Ajith Kumar IRSSE
Managing Director, K-RAIL

Shri. K. Mastan Rao IRSE
Director, (Project & Planning)

Shri. M. Taratious
Director, (BD & Finance)

Welcoming our New Director

SHRI. RAJESH KUMAR SINGH IAS
Principal Secretary (Finance)

Silver Line

The Silver Line or Semi High-Speed Rail will bring about remarkable changes in the local commute, by improving the travel time and quality of transportation. There will be a substantial reduction in road accidents due to decongestion on roads. Silver Line will transform the people's perception towards public transportation by providing a mode of transport to the people of Kerala in a way they have never experienced before.

EVENTS AND UPDATES

Silver Line found mention in Governor’s address

A host of infrastructure projects, including Semi High-Speed Rail found mention in the Governor’s address. The Governor in his address said “In order to alleviate the woes of the passengers travelling between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod, a Semi High-Speed Rail Corridor project named Silver Line will be launched to reduce the travel time from the present 12-14 hours to less than 4 hours. Envisaged as a 100% green project, the project cost is estimated to be Rs. 56,442 crore and will be completed in 5 years. My Government proposes to start work in the 2nd corridor (Pink Line) or Kochi Metro beginning from Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kaloor to Kakkanad this year. This will be connected eventually to the Silver Line for a seamless transfer of passengers.”

A Special presentation on Silver Line held at Assembly Building on 10.02.2020

A special presentation on Silver Line was held at Assembly Building on 10.02.2020 before the State Legislators. Minister for Public Works Shri. G. Sudhakaran, Speaker Shri P. Sreeramakrishnan, Ministers and MLAs were also present.

“The proposed Silver Line (Semi High-Speed Rail corridor from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod) will provide a faster and cleaner travel option to the vast majority of people across the state as they will get connected to it from the existing stations and airports in major cities. The project is set to bring about a qualitative change in the infrastructure profile of the state,” K-Rail Managing Director Mr. V. Ajith Kumar pointed out during the session.

Silver Line will also be a boon for domestic and foreign tourists, who now rely on rail journey. In future, special tourist services can be operated through this line. The corridor will be linked to the International airports in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi and will also touch major employment hubs across the state like Technopark and Infopark proving to be socially and economically beneficial for tens of thousands of professionals working in these facilities.

Announcement of Semi High-Speed Rail Project in Kerala Budget

Finance Minister Shri. Thomas Issac said that Silver Line “a Greenfield railway track which was mentioned in the previous budget is going to be a reality”.

Excerpts from Budget Speech:

“A Greenfield railway track which was mentioned in the previous budget is going to be a reality. It will be the work requiring the highest investment in Kerala. Aerial survey has been completed. Alignment will be determined next. Land acquisition procedures will be started in 2020. Once the land is acquired, it could be completed within 3 years. Several International Agencies are ready to invest in this project.

This is not just a rail track, but will have a new service road and 5 townships. It will be able to reach Kasaragod from Thiruvananthapuram within 4 hours for Rs. 1,457/-. Time also could be saved.

Ro-Ro facility for transporting vehicles and freight at night time will be available in this rail. One third of the revenue is expected as non ticket revenue. Employment will be provided for 50,000 during construction and for 10,000 on permanent basis.

Discussions are going on for availing loan at lower rate from International Agencies including Japan Development Agency with 40 or more years of repayment period. Some major investment organisations have come forward for investment in the development of townships. Today, 95% of transportation in Kerala depends on the road. This is not at all desirable. There will be an eco-friendly fundamental change in the transport structure of Kerala when the water way and rail development are added.”

PROJECT PROGRESS - SILVER LINE

Processing of LiDAR survey data underway

The processing of the LiDAR survey data for finalizing the alignment of the proposed 532 km Semi High-Speed Rail (SHSR) corridor from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod has commenced. The Director General, Survey, has cleared the high resolution data picked up using the Partenavia P68 aircraft to enable K-Rail to commence processing work. A team of K-Rail, Systra and Geokno experts have started comparing the survey data with the worked out alignment.

Through LiDAR technology, the survey of the entire section was carried out to prepare the complete digital elevation model, digital terrain model, L-sections, C-sections, contour, topographical mapping, vegetation mapping, hydrographic/ sonar/bathymetric surveys, wherever required, and submit the processed geographical data for engineering design of the entire length and lateral construction. The LiDAR eye has picked up buildings, people inhabited areas, forests, bushes along the proposed North-South corridor. DPR is expected to be completed by March 2020.

Geotechnical Survey

Geotechnical investigation was done by M/s Anand Raj Infratech Pvt Ltd.

The work started near Kochuveli in Thiruvananthapuram and was completed in Kasaragod. The purpose of sub-soil investigation was to collect all necessary input for designing the civil engineering structures for the Semi High-Speed Rail corridor.

EIA & SIA Survey underway

EXCERPTS FROM THE INTERVIEW OF MD, K-RAIL

Excerpts from the interview conducted by The Indian Express with Shri. V Ajith Kumar, Managing Director, K-Rail, on the sidelines of the ASCEND Summit in Kochi on 09.01.2020.

Continuation from Previous issue:

How much of the corridor will be elevated?

Around 40 per cent of the track will be parallel to the existing railway lines and the rest on a new alignment. Around 11 per cent of the track will be elevated at multiple places. We are going for elevated alignment especially at the majority of the city centre where the cost of land is very high. Otherwise, in the villages, we will go on the ground to control the costs.

Will you be getting the rolling stock from Indian manufacturers?

No, that’s not possible. Indian rolling stock is currently from ICF (Integral Coach Factory). In India, only those with up to 160 kmph are available. Proven technology for 200 kmph is only available in the international market. Also, at 200 kmph, we have to incorporate a lot of safety features into the rolling stock. The equipments are going to be very costly. Rolling stock is the only component which will be imported. Otherwise, everything else is made in India.

Is the KRDCL open to private companies operating semi-high-speed trains?

Yes. In the first set of rolling stock coaches, we have that option, but we have not made a decision yet. We’re asking experts to deliberate. Delhi Metro had tried it but they found it to be costly. If we’re getting loans at lower interest rates, we will buy the rolling stock and ask someone else to maintain and operate it. But fare structures will be the same.

Can you talk about the train specifics? Number of coaches? Fully electrified route?

The mainline fast trains initially would have around nine coaches with a capacity of 675 people. It will be only sitting. By 2051, we will have 15-car trains. Based on the traffic requirement, we will take the call on the length of the train. The routes will be fully-electrified. The stations would be powered by solar power.

The project is set to be commissioned in 2024. Is that a realistic target?

It’s possible. Right now, we have in-principle approval. Our DPR will be ready in two months. The next 6-12 months will be spent in getting approval for the DPR from the state government, Railways, Niti Aayog, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs and finally the Cabinet Committee. By December 2020, the project should get final approval. We’re beginning land acquisition right now. Three years is a good time period for the construction.

EXPERTS SPEAK

SILVER LINE OFFERS A WORLD CLASS TRAVEL WITH NEXT GENERATION ROLLING STOCK

Rolling Stock is an important asset and proper planning is required in selecting the design and the type of Rolling Stock. There are a variety of Semi- High Speed and High-Speed rolling stock series in the world. Specifications of rolling stock are dependent not only on technological factors but also on the geographical conditions where the train is operated. In deciding the type of rolling stock, due consideration has to be given to the operational requirements, interface with infrastructure, whole life cost, as well as the client’s aspirations and the compatibility of the rolling stock with that of other SHSR and HSR corridors.

EMU (Electric Multiple Unit) trains with driving facilities on both end of the train, is recommended for Silver Line Corridor because of the inherent advantages like better operating parameters, reduced travel time, faster acceleration and deceleration, better adhesion, reduced axle load, more suited for regenerative braking, higher Energy Efficiency etc. In addition, it will enable full use of the floor area of a train for passengers, and thus increase the transportation efficiency and would bring down the cost.

Based on the traffic demand forecasted, it is proposed to begin the initial commercial services with train set of a 9 (nine) car configuration, which consists of six motor cars and three trailer cars with the approximate Passenger capacity to be around 675. Train length can be increased up to 12/15 cars in future. Space must be earmarked for service area, pantry, luggage, toilets etc. in each car, thereby reduction in paid area per car.

Latest Technological parameters are being proposed for the Rolling Stock of Silver Line. Aluminium alloy-based car body is proposed. Each car will have two bogies (Bo-Bo configuration) with primary and secondary suspensions.

The interior will have modern state of art design to provide at most comfort to the passengers with luggage racks, toilets, reclining and rotating seats. Facilities for persons with reduced mobility are also proposed.

The propulsion system is VVVF based with asynchronous motors/PMSM. The brake system proposed is a blended braking system with predominate usage of regenerative brake system and supplementary usage of pneumatic brake system. The pneumatic brake system may be disc/tread or mixture of disc and tread. Two doors per side of each car is proposed for the train. These doors will function as emergency doors during the emergency evacuation. To maintain the inside temperature of the saloon and cab, roof mounted HVAC is proposed. Modern type of communication system and entertainment system will be available in the Rolling Stock which can be used in emergency conditions also.

For train operations beyond 160 kmph, it is necessary to improve the safety level & to ensure the safety of train movements. Overlooking a wayside signal may cause a serious accident when trains run at more than 200 kmph. Since it is not possible for the driver to continuously watch the line side signals and the response time of Signalling & Train Control System becomes important for speeds above 160 kmph, the Cab signalling system is essential for high speed rail at 200 kmph. The Cab Signalling System will provide full and complete in-cab information to the driver to permit interpretation of signalling and permitted speed conditions together with a direct link to the train braking system to automatically enforce train braking in the event of excess speed. The Cab Signalling System is designed and configured to permit smooth and efficient service braking applications. Detection of irregular wrong direction movement of a Train set by the Cab Signalling System is required and shall result in an emergency brake application and associated alarm being given to the driver.

Mr. Priyesh K. P
Rolling Stock Expert, Systra

IN NEWS

IN SOCIAL MEDIA

REPLY TO PUBLIC QUERIES

Why Semi High Speed Rail and Why not High Speed Rail for Kerala?

Semi High Speed trains are those which traverse with a speed of 200 kmph or less. A Semi High-Speed Rail (SHSR) with 200 kmph is preferred for the selected route in Kerala in place of a High-Speed Rail (HSR) with 300-350 kmph.

Time and distance

For a State like Kerala where the cities are closely located, the total stretch from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod is 532 km. The average trip length of a passenger is expected to be around 200 km which can be travelled in 90 minutes. The additional time saving for HSR will be marginal. Further, considering 10 stops, the potential of the High Speed Rail system to run at 300 kmph continuously cannot be achieved at the majority of the time.

Construction Cost

The construction cost of a HSR line will be almost double the cost of SHSR. The cost of civil structures will work out cheaper, and it is expected that the cost of trains, etc. may also come down as the speeds of 200 kmph proposed is at the lower end of the High Speed spectrum and designs are expected to be simpler. Moreover, Higher fares would be required to justify HSR cost which will have a negative effect on ridership.

Design

Rolling stock for 200 kmph is less design intensive as aero-dynamic design and slip form effect are not required. Whereas HSR system designs are cumbersome and costly than SHSR.

How will the Silver Line (SHSR) benefit the majority of the people of Kerala?

Transport systems bring enormous benefits to society providing access and mobility that are essential for social and economic growth of the society. Silver Line is a suitable alternative to the conventional modes of transport which have many undesirable external impacts such as CO2 emissions, congestion on roads, increased accident rates and many more. Silver Line is envisioned as a Safe and Clean mode of transport connecting North and South ends of Kerala in less than 4 hours.

The Line saves time, resources, helps in reduction of carbon footprint by relying on renewable energy sources for its stations, provides last mile connectivity to and from the station using electric vehicles (EVs), and facilities for parking/charging EVs at the stations. The proposed RORO service also contributes in decongestion of roads, reduced accident and pollution rates. The shift from conventional mode of transport to SHSR will eventually reduce the dependence on oil, an important dependent commodity.

Planned urban development and development of townships along the corridor accelerates the socio-economic development in the State of Kerala. It will bring along trade and investment opportunities to the underdeveloped regions of the State and will provide access to goods, services, and employment opportunities in these regions through the multiplier effect. Integration with Trivandrum and Cochin International airports and Connecting IT corridors - Technopark and Infopark will benefit tens of thousands of working professionals.

Provision of under passages and service roads along the alignment will boost the value of land locked property. Indirect benefits include generation of employment in different sectors like manufacturing, tourism and agriculture along the corridor. About 50,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities during the construction period of 5 years and 10,000 employment opportunities during project operation period will be generated.

The Semi High-Speed Rail corridor will not only enable industrialists, businessmen, professionals and all other workers a faster intra state travel but also eases the movement of merchandise and goods from the hinterlands of Kerala and other places of production, to the centres of consumption thereby stimulating the agricultural and industrial growth and the internal and external trade of Kerala.

EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH

Congratulations to Mr. Midhun Joseph!!! (Employee of the month – January 2020)

Mr. Midhun Joseph, Section Engineer, K-Rail has been selected as the "employee of the month" for the month of January 2020. He is responsible for coordination of ROB works.