Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) has submitted a feasibility report to Southern Railway for the redevelopment of the marshalling yard at Ponnuruni to construct an international standard coaching terminal complex. The underutilized land here in Ponnurunni, at the heart of the city, will have the capacity to host trains, apart from having space for repair and maintenance of trains. The new terminal would become a new halt station for trains through Kottayam and will also be a terminal point for new trains that are allotted to the state.
The Southern Railway has entrusted the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd for preparing a feasibility report on the terminal in October 2020.
The proposed terminal will also ease the long-standing traffic congestion in Kochi and accelerate the development of the railways in the state. The feasibility study says the project is technically feasible and financially viable and recommended for implementation to have higher mobility, meet the traffic growth and economic development of the State. The project can be completed over three years. The feasibility report suggests a station complex with 4 platforms, 1 pit line, 2 parcel lines, 2 stabling lines, wagon examination line in addition to retaining the existing coaching depot.
The expected total investment through the project is Rs 1654 crore including the development of the railway infrastructure for Rs 325 crore. The plan is in such a way that the number of passenger platforms can be increased depending on the increasing traffic demand in the future.
The Ernakulam Marshalling Yard is located between the Ponnuruni and Kathrikadavu flyovers near Vyttila. The railway owns 110 acres of land here, which houses a goods shed and a coach repair center. The distance to the proposed terminal is only 1.5 km from Ernakulam South. The existing facilities at Ernakulam Junction and Ernakulam Town are quite inadequate. Therefore, the study says, this proposed integrated coaching terminal will help to meet the growing traffic needs.
With the coming of the project, the road facilities in the area will also be developed. The study proposes to build a new road on the south and east sides of the proposed terminal. Connectivity will be improved by constructing a new road under Ponnurunni ROB and Vyttila NH 66 ROB with further connectivity to Vytilla Mobility Hub. In the first phase, connectivity from the north and east is proposed by widening and improving the road under the Ponnurunni Bridge. The study also suggests direct connectivity from Thammanam-Pullepady road to the designated terminal. It is proposed to connect Elamkulam Metro Station in the south via Fatima Church road and JLN Stadium metro station in the North via JLN stadium road by introducing e-feeders.
KRDCL used detailed information from the last ten years, including passenger data, cargo handling data, and daily train information. Data from Edappally, Kalamassery, Tripunithura, Thuravoor, and Cherthala railway stations have also been used to prepare the report. The new terminal would make the rail traffic in central Kerala easier and is also expected to meet the demands of the region in the next 30 years.