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 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.

EVENTS AND UPDATES

DPR Completion of Silver Line

DPR for Silver Line Project was completed during the month of March 2020 by M/s Systra, General Consultant of K-Rail. The meeting of the Board of Directors scheduled on 26.03.2020 for approval of the DPR was postponed due to the precarious situation arising out of COVID19. DPR will be sent for the approval of the Government of Kerala, once the Board reconvenes and approves the same.

The 532 km Silver Line is a double line Railway connecting Kasaragod and Thiruvananthapuram with a maximum speed of 200kmph, would ease the transport between North and South ends of the State and will reduce the total travel time to less than 4 hours, compared with the present 12 to 14 hours.

The semi high-speed corridor connecting the districts of Kerala longitudinally will act as a growth engine for the socio- economic development of the entire state. It will act as a social cohesion among residents as it connects the entire state and promotes a sense of togetherness, by bringing distant populated areas close together. From a planning point of view, it will facilitate new growth of multi zonal, multi nuclear urban structure in and around, to reduce and re-distribute the pressure from the existing urban spaces. From the resilient point of view, the corridor will open avenues to connect “high and dry” areas that are safe and have the potential to increase socio-economic opportunities in the State. Integrating the multimodal transportation along the corridor will create ripple of growth and facilitate better connectivity with the surroundings.

From a connectivity point of view, the Silver Line will connect the airports, health facilities, institutions, cultural amenities, and commercial nodes. Along with the social benefits, the corridor will also stimulate long term economic benefits - encourage commercial and industrial growth in, around and along the corridor. This will create employment opportunity and also widen employment opportunity. Besides connecting the entire State, it will also reduce travel time, improve energy consumption, encouraging high density, mixed-use, and real estate development along the corridor and around the transit nodes. It will also foster economic development in tier-II & III towns along the corridor and also create new growth centers. The corridor will also expand tourism opportunities. Overall, the high-speed corridor will integrate the districts that can function as a single stronger economy.

The line will reduce pollution and congestion on roads, improve safety and reduce dependence on imported oil. Last mile connectivity with system driven e-vehicle public transport system, multi model integration, charging and parking stations etc are expected to take Kerala to the next generation of urban mobility.

Aerial LiDAR survey was the first vital step which helped to finalise the alignment for the Silver Line project.

The land that has a width of 600 m was surveyed. Ground points were set up prior to the flying of aircraft. The equipment used included a laser unit, scanner and GPS receiver. The laser rays scanned the surface of the earth and the returning rays were received in the sensor to map the features on ground. Accurate details of the land were obtained without disturbing the public life.

Environmental Impact Assessment and Social Impact Assessment was done to identify, predict, interpret and communicate the impact of legislative proposals, policies, programs, projects and operational procedures on the natural environment, human health and well- being. The impacts likely to occur in different components of the environment, viz. physical, chemical, biological, and socio economics were studied and analysed.

The various environmental components/areas/ disciplines which was included in the EIA study were Landuse, Wateruse, Ambient Air Quality, Groundwater and Surface water Quality, Ecology and biodiversity, Noise Level, Hydrology, Ground water, and water conservation, Geology, Soil Quality, Meteorological data, Socio economic conditions, Management of Hazardous and Non hazardous solid wastes, Occupational Safety and Health, Storm Water Management, Prevention of water, land and soil contamination, Control of Air Pollution, Water Pollution, and Noise pollution, Quantitative Risk Assessment and Risk Management.

Soil Investigation (geotechnical investigation) was done to give necessary input for designing all the Civil Engineering structures for Semi High Speed corridor.
The Geotechnical investigation was done to obtain information about the soil conditions below the surface for which subsurface exploration was required. Methods of observing the soils below the surface included: Boring, In situ tests like Standard Penetration Test, Shear tests and Moisture Content test and obtaining samples and determining physical properties of the soils and rocks was also done.

Traffic and Transportation survey was conducted to assess the existing traffic and transportation characteristics of the commuters between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod. All the existing modes of transport were covered under the study.

Traffic Survey for feasibility of Tourist Train & Aggregator Services was also conducted at identified locations to find out the number of tourists willing to shift to the Silver Line as well as to find the potential number of passengers who would use the feeder services

Traffic Survey for feasibility of sleeper trains during night & restaurant cars in day trains was carried at selected Bus terminals and Railway Stations. It was mainly targeted at the passengers travelling under reservation at night time in both AC buses and Trains. The willingness of passengers travelling by AC classes in trains during day time to shift to SHSR and use of Restaurant cars were collected.

K-Rail for a Brighter and Sustainable Future

Green protocol defined as the “set of measures which is adopted with the primary focus on prevention of use of disposables and using reusable alternatives thereby resulting in significant reduction of waste generation.” is a philosophy which guides the operations of K-Rail.
In line with the Green – Silver Line project, K-Rail has decided to implement “Go Green initiatives” in K-Rail Offices. Going green can make a big difference in how you perceive the world around you. Taking the small steps to go green can make a big impact on the people and the world around you.

The initiatives adopted include:

Use of e-Office

Going paperless by adopting technology driven measures for massive reduction of paper usage across office like use of e-Office, methods like scanning / downloading / sharing documents electronically, transition to paperless meetings, switching to e-filing, e-leave applications, e-signatures etc.

Strictly avoiding use of all kinds of disposable items, use of plastic flex boards, bouquets, decorations, use of disposable pens and ball pens and promoting use of refilling pens or paper pens, separation of degradable and bio degradable waste and use composting facility /high capacity bio-gas plant/ organic waste converters to treat the biodegradable waste.

Avoiding use of plastic and disposable bottles, lunch boxes, parcels, cups, straw, and spoons by using steel instead, substituting plastic carry bags, tissue paper etc with cloth and using stainless steel waste bins instead of plastic waste bins.

Break the Chain Campaign

As a part of ‘Break the Chain’ Campaign, several preventive measures were taken at K-Rail Office against the spread of Noval Corona Virus.

Sanitizers and Handwash were provided at common points. Employees were directed to use the sanitizer before entering office premises.

Body Temperature of all officers, employees, and visitors were monitored using a thermal scanner before entering office premises.

Employees were requested to wear face mask duly maintaining its hygiene. Floors, tables, door handles, chair handles, etc were properly cleaned with disinfectants. No guest was allowed during office hours under normal condition. On emergency, guests were also screened for checking the body temperature.

In line with the decisions of Government of India and Government of Kerala, the Office was closed and work from home started from 24th March 2020.

GUEST ARTICLE

KEEP ALOOF IS THE MESSAGE

Dr. R Ramesh
Project Director,
Kerala State AIDS Control Society
Managing Director, KHRWS

“We can win the battle against COVID 19 in our state even now. A whopping 81% of the cases are those who have travelled from COVID 19- affected countries and 19% the primary contacts of these cases. That means we are yet to see a single instance of COVID 19 without history of close contact with a confirmed case. But there is no room for complacency. The situation can change anytime. Even then, we can stop the virus spreading by strictly adhering to the regulations.

The most important of these regulations is that all of us, except those required to keep essential services going, should remain in our houses for three weeks. Move out only for buying basic supplies like grocery or medicine, that too, by keeping a distance of 1 to 3 mts from others. And, wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coming back. Remember to immediately wash the cloth worn when you went out.

We have to take extra care of elderly people in our households. It is said that we should love them by not allowing them to be visited by anyone including their near and dear ones. Similarly, people with Diabetes, Hypertension, Renal diseases, Cardiac diseases, cancer and other chronic illnesses should take extra care as they are the ones who can contract the disease easily and also develop serious complications including death. These people are to strictly remain indoors and isolated from anyone else.

If the entire 3.4 crore population of our state follow this drill strictly for the next three weeks we can surely prevent the spread of the virus. Now that a total shut down has been ordered by the Government and borders with the neighbouring states sealed without allowing any public transport, only those already confirmed cases and those who are already infected but in incubation period are the sources of infection. No one will come from outside. So it is very crucial that all of us remain in isolation for three weeks. Each one of us has to pass the core message of strictly remaining in our homes and never going out other than for buying food or medicine. Even that should be done by following all due precautions. This regulation has been enforced as there could be hidden or undetected cases because of contacts with already confirmed cases. It will take another 7 to 10 days for them to develop and manifest symptoms. They are the potential hosts of the virus who can spread the infection. We don’t know who they are at this stage. We will come to know that in next 7 to 10 days only. So keep aloof from all. That is the message.”

EXPERTS SPEAK


Mr. Arun Savi
Transport Planner,
Systra
The traffic & transportation surveys were conducted as a part of the study to assess the passenger movement pattern, freight movement and their travel characteristics within the study area. The data collection activities included both primary and secondary data sources such as classified traffic volume counts (TVC), origin-destination (O-D) surveys, public transport terminal surveys, tourist survey, and stated preference (SP) surveys to understand the willingness to shift to the proposed Silver Line and willingness to pay for the same journey.

The primary surveys such as TVC survey and OD Survey were conducted at 19 locations, public transport terminal surveys at 4 airports, railway stations and bus terminals at major towns and cities; all along the project influence area. Freight data was collected from major truck operators, freight forwarders and rail parcel service offices within Kerala and at border locations. Tourism surveys were conducted at major tourist destinations of Kerala and responses from both domestic & international tourists were recorded. In addition, significant data from secondary sources pertaining to demographic, vehicle registration, toll operator data, socio-economic characteristics, public transport system etc., was also collected as part of the data collection activity.

From the analysis, it is observed that 11% of the total trips are having trip length greater than 200Km. The modal share indicates that 42% are by two-wheelers, 36% by car and 5% by bus & minibus. When freight movement is considered, the modal share is 2% by multi-axle vehicle, 2% by 2Axle trucks, 5% LCVs and 2% Goods Auto. The peak hour of cumulative traffic at most of the locations were observed between 5.00 P.M and 6.00 P.M followed by 6.00 P.M to 7.00 P.M.

For future estimations, base year was considered as 2019-20, commissioning year as 2025-26 and horizon year as 2052-53. The daily ridership was estimated for four different scenarios as Pessimistic, Business-As-Usual, Realistic and Optimistic built-up based on variations in parameters such additional infrastructure developments, additional traffic generated, growth rates based on all India GDP and difference in mode-wise probability of shift from potential trips. The daily ridership was observed to be varying between approx. 54,000 daily trips in worst scenario to 1, 14,000 trips in optimistic scenario in 2025-26.

The realistic scenario is expected to generate approx. 79,934 daily trips in 2025-26 (including trips from airports, feeder service and TOD development).Regarding connectivity with airports, Kochi airport (CIAL) is proposed during the commissioning year itself and for Trivandrum, it is proposed to be developed at later stages, once demand arises. The sectional loads in the stretch between Trivandrum to Kozhikode is observed to be very high.

Apart from the above, demand assessment for operating tourist trains, sleeper trains and introducing restaurant car was also conducted and observed that there is potential for operating tourist trains but on a lease model and also for sleeper trains by private operators. However, sleeper train were observed only for weekend trips and not on daily basis. Introduction of restaurant cars in trains was found to be unviable from a revenue generation perspective. However, to make the journey attractive to the Silver line users, it is recommended to provide good quality and high-end restaurant type food through any reputed catering agency.

RoRo service if implemented through Silver line is expected to carry daily 445 trucks in the commissioning year and 693 trucks in the horizon year. RoRo is proposed to be operated during off-peak hours and night hours. But due to operational issues, the maximum trucks that can be carried by RoRo is capped at 480 daily trucks.

Multi modal Integration, Comprehensive mobility plans/regional mobility plans, Provision of city feeders, conducting periodic traffic surveys including opinion surveys every 3 years (minimum) during operational years are other recommendations to improve the ridership.

FROM MD’S DESK

Hope this communique finds you in the best of health and safe, during this difficult time, being the entire world is going through unprecedented lockdowns affected by the Covid-19. We had a good start in the month of March gearing up for completion of the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of SilverLine.

It is indeed a proud moment for all, at K-Rail and our General Consultant – Systra, as we have successfully completed the DPR of Silver Line, one of the most awaited and prestigious projects in the State of Kerala. Silver Line offers a world class, comfortable, safe, clean and faster travel to the people of Kerala. Provision of last mile connectivity, connectivity with Airports and IT corridors will help tens of thousands of the people in our State including working professionals. Huge employment opportunities will also arise as a part of the project construction and operation. Moreover, synergized development of cities will lead to the overall acceleration in the development of the State. It will not only bring remarkable changes in local commute by improving the travel time and quality of transportation but will also change the way Kerala travels.

As a part of the DPR work, we had also conducted various surveys and studies which include Aerial LiDAR Survey, Geotechnical Investigation, Traffic surveys, Environmental Impact Assessment and Social Impact Assessment Studies. These surveys played a crucial and vital role in the timely completion of the DPR. Despite, the current situations prevailing in our country, the entire team of K-Rail and Systra had worked sincerely in achieving the target. DPR will be sent for approval of the Government of Kerala, once the Board reconvenes and approves the same.

K-Rail, being an advocate of a Brighter and Sustainable Future, has decided to go in line with the green protocol measures to be implemented in our Office. We have already switched to ‘eOffice’, a cloud enabled software which can be used to achieve a simplified, responsive, effective and transparent working. For the last one year, K-Rail’s office functioning has been working on this digital platform.

We all are aware of the present situation, where the Novel CoronaVirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak has been declared as a pandemic by the WHO. K-Rail has done it’s part by creating awareness among the employees of the organization by stressing the importance of keeping personal hygiene to protect self and the community from Covid-19 infection. Several precautionary measures were adopted at the K-Rail office and were strictly followed by all officers and staff. In line with the Government orders, we had also provided employees with the ‘work from home’ option.

We hope that the entire world would be able to overcome this situation and soon, everything will be back to normal.

DID YOU KNOW?

Standard Gauge versus Broad Gauge



A Standard Gauge railway is a railway with a track gauge of 1,435 mm. It is the most widely used railway track gauge across the world, with approximately 55% of the lines in the world using it. The distance between the inside edges of the rails is defined to be 1435 mm except in the United States and on some heritage British lines.

In Standard Gauge, trains could operate upto speeds of 350 kmph and beyond. Whereas in Broad Gauge, trains would be able to operate only upto speeds of 160 kmph in India, though with a slightly better speed in some other railways. It is a fact that Standard Gauge provides a safer, speedier and more comfortable system for which well-developed and proven technologies are available. It also requires less land width. Moreover, SG trains can obtain higher speeds compared to BG trains in sharp, curved and steep graded lines due to reasons like their inherent better stability, lighter coaches and simpler structural systems. Upto 250 kmph is considered Semi High Speed and High Speeds are generally above 250 kmph.

SG coaches which are available presently, from many international sources, are very good, comfortable and safe for semi-high speed and high speed operations. With 3.2m-3.4m wide body coaches available in SG, the carrying capacity of these coaches are same as that in IR’s BG coaches. Dedicated high speed SG coaches are much lighter than BG coaches and hence their supporting structures are also lighter and cheaper.

BG is available only in India and Pakistan where speeds are historically low. For BG in IR, high speed operations have not been found to be feasible as existing technologies are not adequate for such speeds and available track and coach designs do not support such speeds. Inspite of continuous and serious efforts, Indian railways are not able to raise the speed beyond 160 kmph in any sector due to technological issues in rails as well as in coaches. Development of high speed rail systems on BG technology is not in the near technological horizon anywhere.

SG has been approved by the Govt of India for the prestigious Mumbai-Ahmedabad HSR line and Delhi-Meerut RRTS lines. IR’s Broad Gauge cannot even take up speeds of 200 kmph in the near future. These factors have weighed in favour of Standard Gauge for the Kerala’s Silver Line as minimum speed of 200 kmph or above is considered absolutely necessary for the Kerala’s new Railway Corridor between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod to meet the requirement of maximum 4 hrs running time in between the end stations and faster travel between all cities in the route.

India’s venture into SG high speed coach technologies can take the country into high end technologies through the Make in India program and the country can become a leader in this area as many countries are switching over to high speed rail systems world over.

IN NEWS & SOCIAL MEDIA

A google map image is being spread on social media by certain vested interests as the final alignment of the proposed Semi High-Speed Rail (SHSR) corridor from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod which is highly misleading. The fake image connects the ten stations in the rail corridor with straight lines.

The rough alignment of the project is available at https://krdcl.co.in/gallery/rough-alignment-of-silver-line/.
The final alignment will be published soon.

EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH

Congratulations to Ms. Nidhiya Joseph!!!
(Employee of the month – February 2020)
Nidhiya Joseph, Technical Assistant – Electrical, K-Rail has been selected as the "Employee of the Month" for the month of February,2020.
She is associated in activities relating to ‘Perception Management, Public Relations, Digital Media Management and Documentation Management for K-Rail’ and coordination works with IT Mission and NIC for the functioning of ‘e-Office’. She is also handling transit oriented development tender related works.

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