The 529.45 km (south to north) Thiruvananthapuram – Kasaragod Semi High-Speed Rail (SilverLine) Project will connect Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod through 11 districts and 11 stations. After the project is finished, the trip from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram will take less than 4 hours at a speed of 200 km/h. The current journey time on the Indian Railways network is 12 hours.
The project, whose completion date is 2025, is managed by the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL). The Kerala government and the Union Ministry of Railways collaborated on establishing the Kerala Railway Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL), also known as K-Rail, to implement significant railway initiatives.
SYSTRA MVA Consulting submitted and created the project’s feasibility report to K-Rail in May 2019 and its detailed project report, including alignment, in March 2020.
The DPR for the line was accepted by the K-Rail Board of Directors on April 16, 2020, with the inclusion of a new station at Kochi’s Cochin International Airport. The DPR was then submitted to the Kerala government for approval.
The DPR for the line was authorised by the Kerala state cabinet on June 10, 2020, with a slight alteration to the alignment. As a result, Mahe will no longer be traversed by the railway, contrary to the feasibility report’s original recommendation.
The line is anticipated to be extended to Mangaluru in Karnataka.
Motives of SilverLine
Urban policy scholars predict that Kerala’s old rail system won’t be able to keep up with demand. Due to the numerous turns and twists in the current route, most trains go at 45 km/h.
The government anticipates that the SilverLine project will speed up commuter travel, relieve considerable traffic from the existing portion, and reduce road accidents.
The government claims that the line will contribute to a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, an increase in Ro-Ro services, the creation of jobs, the linking of airports and IT corridors, and a faster pace of development in the regions it passes through.
Deadline for Kerala Silver Line: 2027
The estimated finishing date: 2030
Cost of the Project: Rs. 63,941 crores
Indian Government: 10%
State Government of Kerala: 28%
Bilateral Loan: 53%
Length of the route: 530.6 km
Station Type: At-Grade (primarily), Elevated & Underground
Number of Stations: 11
Station Names: Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Chengannur, Kottayam, Ernakulam (elevated), Kochi Airport, Thrissur, Tirur, Kozhikode (underground), Kannur, Kasaragod (elevated).
- Top Speed is 200 kmph
- Average Speed is 130 kmph
- Track Gauge: Standard Gauge is 1435mm
- Rolling Stock is 9/12 coach trains
- Traction is 25 KV AC overhead catenary (OHE)
- Signalling is ETCS Level-2 of ERTMS
Features of SilverLine
According to K-Rail, the project will use Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) trains with nine cars that may be expanded to 12. Based on the daily average of 80,000 passengers, a 9-car set is estimated to carry 75 passengers per train.
The railway line will connect Thiruvananthapuram with the cities of Kottayam, Ernakulam (Kakkanad), Kollam, Chengannur, Cochin Airport, Kozhikode, Kannur, Thrissur, Tirur, and Kasaragod, with stations in each of those cities.
There are 1,383 hectares available for purchase, 1,198 of which are designated private land. The Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), the government’s central investment arm, has provided the project with Rs 2,100 crore.
Project facing opposition
Environmentalists are concerned that the train line would affect the ecosystem, but the state cabinet believes it will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, they are concerned about the state’s wetlands, rice fields, and streams suffering permanent harm. They predict that this will increase future flooding and landslides.
No designated locations, such as wildlife refuges, biosphere regions, national parks, or other environmentally sensitive areas, are traversed by the SilverLine line.
The Western Ghats, one of the major biodiversity hotspots, is parallel to the alignment. Thus, the effects on biodiversity must be carefully examined. They consist of Madayipara, Ponnani, Kadalundi, and Thirunavaya villages.
K- Rail stated that 9,314 structures would have to be destroyed. It is anticipated that at least 10,000 families will need to relocate. This amount might double if the Environment Management Plan (EMP) is completed.
Major Contracts of the Silver Line Project
|Feasibility and Detailed Project Report Preparer||SYSTRA MVA Consulting India Pvt. Ltd.|
|LiDAR and Geotechnical Survey Report||GeoKno India Pvt. Ltd.|
|Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Study||EQMS India|
|Hydrographic and Topographic Survey of Important Bridges, Major Bridges, Minor Bridges||RITES|
|Architectural Design of 10 Stations||LKT Engineering|
After getting approval from the Cabinet in June, the state government started the land acquisition procedure. The 1,198 hectares that must be purchased are all privately owned land.
The government’s main investment arm, the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), has also received administrative permission for Rs 2,100 crore from the Cabinet.
Regional revenue and K-Rail authorities are putting down boundary markers and defining the boundaries of the land as part of the initial acquisition process. This is done to provide authorities with a rough figure for how much private land will be bought and how many homes will need to move.
Despite CM Vijayan’s letter to PM Narendra Modi asking for his “personal support,” the programme has only gained clearance in principle from the Centre. The governments of Kerala, the central government, and various global financial institutions will partly fund the line’s construction.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan made it clear on 8th December that his government’s ambitious Silver Line project has not been put on hold and that the Railway Ministry is still reviewing its Detailed Project Report (DPR), despite calls from the opposition Congress-led UDF for him to revoke its notification as soon as possible.