Pollachi – Palakkad Railway Track – Future possibilities. Part 2


Prospects for decades’ pending Kollengode – Thrissur line, a direct rail corridor from Pollachi,TN straight into THRISSUR in Central Kerala; Creation of circular railway sections – Palakkad – Podanur – Pollachi – Kollengode – Thrissur – Ottappalam – Palakkad comprising two smaller circular sections; Palakkad – Rameswaram night train drawing parallel to such a train during the MG era.

The Distance from Chennai Egmore to Palakkad Junction is 611 k.m while the distance between Chennai Central and Palakkad junction is only 538 k.m. Though there is an increased distance of 73 k.m in respect of the rail route through Kollengode – Pollachi – Palani – Dindigul – Trichy – Villupuram sections, it will barely take one hour extra running time but will provide an alternative train service from Palakkad to Chennai, the biggest city in the southern India. These trains will be beneficial to the regular travelers from Pollachi – Udumalaipet – Palani regions as well.

Now the Express trains (Train No. 22652) to Chennai Central though the round-about route via. Palani – Dindigul – Karur – Salem leaves Pollachi at 17.45 p.m, which is too early a departure time for passengers from Pollachi region. Probably the departure cannot be delayed as it will be inconvenient for passengers from intermediate stations like Karur, Namakkal and Salem. Further a delayed departure will haul the train into a traffic saturated schedule in the busy Salem – Chennai section. Let this pair train between Pollachi/Palani and Chennai Central ( extended to Pollachi as a Special train) be continued bestowing more accommodation for passengers from the Karur – Namakkal – Salem section. Further, it will clear the rush of pilgrims to the Palani hill temple despite through the round-about route. Since the said pair train originate/terminate at Chennai Central, the biggest Rail – Terminal of the Southern Railway, it will be convenient for passengers who change trains to/fro other far-off destinations.

A pair of Fast Passenger night train with Sleeper Class bogies can be immediately introduced (drawing a parallel to such trains during the MG era) between Palakkad junction and Rameswaram upon opening the Pollachi – Kollengode – Palakkad stretch after the gauge conversion.

Taking into account the volume of passengers towards Palakkad and beyond, Southern railway must introduce Fast Passenger Trains in the Dindigul – Palakkad branch line and offer connections to the trunk route – superfast trains that pass through Dindigul as well as Palakkad.

Thrissur – Kollengode Railway track – A must for Kerala’s Railway prospects

It would have been fine if the pending Kollengode – Thrissur line ( fresh BG line) had been sanctioned and made a reality at this time when the full stretch of the Dindigul – Palakkad MG section becomes a BG section upon gauge conversion. Very unfortunate that the Kollengode – Thrissur BG railway line (originally planned as a MG line !) is still pending! The Kollengode – Thrissur line must become a reality which will create a direct chord line between Pollachi and Thrissur and leads to a fresh new rail corridor from Central Tamil Nadu to Thrissur, the Pooram festival city in Central Kerala while the erstwhile MG network are all most converted into BG in this region. This fresh rail corridor from Pollachi to Thrissur by-passing the busy Palakkad will be useful for the faster movement of Containers between Thoothukkudi (Tuticorin) and Kochi Ports.

Map of proposed Thrissur – Kollengode railway track

Trissur Kollengode Railway line map
Image and article by —- Madan Menon Thottasseri
Kollengode – Thrissur railway which was shelved since the first post-independence survey in 1964 must be undeniably implemented as it will change the face of the Pollachi – Kollengode – Nenmara – Vadakkumcherry – Thrissur region in all respects. The Kollengode – Thrissur line will create a direct chord-line between Thrissur and Pollachi, bypassing the busy Palakkad. Let us hope that both Kerala and Tamil Nadu (though it is within Kerala ) will take note of the potentials of Kollengode – Thrissur railway and prevail on the Railway Ministry to make it a reality at the earliest at least through the ensuing Railway Budget 2016-2017..

It is desirable that M.Ps and Central Ministers from Kerala demand for the Kollengode – Thrissur railway line with support from counter parts of Tamil Nadu representing Madurai, Trichy, Dindigul, Palani, Pollachi regions as people of these regions will also be beneficiaries of the proposed railway line. Up on consolidating strength with proper support from the respective regions of both States, they can jointly prevail on the Railway Ministry to sanction the railway line. It will be better if people of a particular region in Kerala do not agitate in isolation within Kerala. Instead they may tie up support from the people’s forums of neighboring Tamil Nadu. Action Councils based at Nenmara, and Kollengode etc. must form a consortium to jointly formulate agitations. The consortium can open affiliates/sub-councils at places like Pollachi, Udumalaipet, Palani, Oddanchatram and Dindigul with the help of business communities who are engaged in inter-state trade and commerce. They can also involve the Palani Dhadayudhapani Dewasthanam, which control and manage the famous Hill Temple that attracts pilgrims from other states, mainly from Kerala. Guruvayur Dewasam Board can also take an initiative for Kollengode – Thrissur railway line for the cause of pilgrims’ travel. The Railway Ministry will have no option than to heed to the common demand that gets consolidated from different quarters.

No barriers of state should affect the railway line that offers adequate scope to operating round the clock pilgrim shuttle services between Palani and Guruvayur to cover a distance of 176 K.m within four and half hours. Further by operating both Express and Fast Passenger trains through Dindigul- Palani –Pollachi –Kollengode-Nenmara- Thrissur line connecting trunk-route rail-heads of Tamil Nadu and Kerala ( Maduarai/Tiruchchi/Dindigul and Thrissur/Ernakulam) will enhance the potential for traffic earnings and optimum utilisation of rolling stocks.

I think that there no much of enthusiastic demand for this railway line from the Thrissur region. This line will entail Thrissur to become a busy railway junction and thus people’s forums and trade associations in Thrissur may have to intensify their demand for the same.

On implementation of the Kollengode- Thrissur railway, pilgrims and tourists will get a circular route – Palakkad – Podanur – Pollachi – Kollengode – Nenmmara- Thrissur – Shoranur – Ottapalam – Palakkad (255 k.m) comprising two smaller circular sections.

These circular sections will be advantageous for the tourism development of Nelliyampathy ( Kerala) and Valparai ( T.N) Hill stations and many water reservoirs- Pothundy, Mangalam, Peechi,Vazhani, Malampuzha, Chulliar, Meenkara, Aliar, Sholaiyar, Kadamparai, Nirayar and Parambikkulam. Ultimately the Pollachi – Kollengode- Thrissur chord line will add value to the tourism potential of these hill-stations and nearby dams with gardens, amusement parks, boating lakes, resorts etc. that can be easily accessible by foreign tourists landing at Kochi, Kozhikkode or Coimbatore airports.

Kollengode – Thrissur rail link should never carry the tag of a branch-line while the rail connection establishes an inter-state ‘chord-line’ (89 k.m) from Pollachi to Pooram City Thrissur. It will not be extraneous if Tamil Nadu comes forward initiating for the ‘Chord Line’ between Pollachi and Thrissur even if Kerala is not keen on advocating for the same!