Regauging pushes ahead
INAUGURATING broad-gauge services on the reconstructed line between Mangalore and Kabakaputtur, Indian Railways Minister Nitish Kumar announced on December 28 that trains would be running on the whole Bangalore - Mangalore corridor by January 1 2005.
Construction of the 166 km new line between Bangalore and Hassan has been completed (RG 6.02 p322), along with regauging from Hassan to Sakleshpur. The minister expected regauging of the line between Kabakaputtur and Subramanya to be finished in March, with the Sakleshpur - Subramanya gap to be closed by the end of this year. At this point the route into Mangalore will be transferred from the South Western Railway to the Southern, he said.
Gauge conversion on the Hassan - Mangalore line at a cost of Rs3·1bn is being funded by Karnataka state through the public-private K-RIDE Corp.
In December IR confirmed that another special purpose vehicle has been formed to fund conversion of the 313 km Gandhidham - Bhildi - Palanpur line in Gujarat at a cost of Rs45·4bn. Under a memorandum of understanding signed in January, Kandla Port Trust is to take a 26% stake in the Kutch Railway Co and Gujarat Adani Ports Ltd 20%; IR will hold 50% and the state government 4%. Due to be completed by January 2006, the line will connect the ports of Kandla and Mundhra on the Gulf of Kutch with Western Railway's Delhi - Ahmedabad main line.
On December 13 Gujarat's Chief Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 67 km Mundhra - Alipur line, built by Adani Corp to connect its port to the IR network.