KOLLAM: The engineering work of the gauge conversion on the 45-km long Kollam-Punalur railway section has been technically completed. A trial run on Sunday, using a diesel engine, through the newly laid track has been termed a success. The development gives rise to hopes that the line will be commissioned by April end.
All along the sides of the track there was jubilation as people gathered to welcome the engine and the technical staff travelling in it. In order to facilitate the gauge conversion work, all train services on the Punalur-Kollam section were withdrawn from May 1, 2007.
The trial engine, which left Kollam at 11 a.m. on Sunday, travelled at 30 to 40 kmph stopping at the crossing stations of Kundara, Kottarakara and Avaneeshwaram to reach Punalur by 1 p.m. In view of the trial run, employees were deputed at all the 15 level crossings along the route as a safety measure, said Kollam Railway Station Manager A. Tasitus.
The trial run is a formality to assess the condition of the tracks prior to the inspection by the Railway Safety Commissioner.
In the return journey, the engine travelled at 30 to 60 kmph and at one course even travelled at 66 kmph and reached Kollam in one hour and five minutes.