The proposed high-speed rail corridor of Kerala will have a length of 564 km connecting Thiruvananthapuram to Mangalore in Karnataka.
According to a Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) preliminary study, in the first phase the service would be implemented in the Thiruvananthapuram-Kochi segment and then extended to Kasaragod in the northern part of Kerala and finally to Mangalore.
The total project cost for the corridor is estimated at Rs 120,000 crore. The government plans to implement the largest-ever infrastructure project of the state with private participation.
Reports on feasibility and alignment would be ready by December.
Under Phase I, the corridor will have nine stations including Kollam, Kottayam, Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Kasaragod and later this would be increased 12. The other likely stations are Chengannur, Valanchery/Tirur and Thalassery.
Also, lanes between Thiruvananthapuram and Kottiyam in Kollam district covering 52 km will be implemented in Phase I. This will be extended to Chengannur and later to Kochi. The special purpose vehicle, Kerala High Speed Rail Corporation Limited, proposes to begin construction in 2014 if all clearances are ready.
T Balakrishnan, former Industries secretary, who is now heading the corporation, said the first phase covering the Thiruvananthapuram-Kochi stretch would take at least five years to complete and the remaining would be completed by two years. The cost in the first phase would be Rs 40,000 crore. DMRC is now engaged in a detailed analysis of the preliminary report based on satellite images.
Described as the most expensive infrastructure project conceived by the Kerala government, he said when completed it would engage bullet trains from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod in 142 minutes (less than three hours instead of the 15 hours now required) covering a distance of 526 km.
A detailed feasibility report was being prepared and the alignment survey was on, only after which land acquisition would be undertaken, he said allaying fears of public.
The initial survey of alignment is on in areas like Mookkannoor, Sreemool-anagaram, Irumpanam and Thrikkakkara in Ernakulam district. The land acquisition will take another 20-24 months.
He said the number of families evacuated for the project would be minimum as the major chunk of the rail was on an elevated structure and through the underground. The elevated rail will be five metres above the ground level. Roughly 2,500 families would be evacuated for the project. This includes 1,400-1,600 in the first stretch.
The structure supporting the rail will generally be on a single pillar spaced 25 metre apart. This is required to avoid large scale acquisition of land. Tunnelling is proposed in towns/cities to minimise land acquisition, he said.