INDIAN RAILWAYS : AMAZING KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE

The Konkan Railway (abbreviated KR and कोरे) is a railway operated by Konkan Railway Corporation Limited, headquartered at CBD Belapur in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra. The first passenger train ran on Konkan railway tracks on 20 March 1993 between Udupi and Mangalore. The 741 km (461 mi) line connects Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka states in India. The first train on the completed track was flagged off on 26 January 1998. I extensively studied Konkan Railway in most detail as I was studying civil engineering while the project was being built and went on the route multiple times

THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS + LINE THROUGH KERALA
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGE & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS
THE AMAZING 760 KM LONG KONKAN RAILWAY (KR) LINE WITH OVER 2000 BRIDGES & 91 TUNNELS

KONKAN RAILWAY

THE CHALLENGES & SOLUTIONS


  • Drawing up their plans in an office, E. Sreedharan’s team had to analyze what kind of terrain the line would have to pass, and though some surveys had been conducted, there was no data for the entire stretch in Maharashtra – a route which involved half the length of the line
  • Besides, the task was formidable. With a total number of over 2000 bridges and 91 tunnels to be built through this mountainous terrain containing many rivers, it was the biggest and perhaps the most difficult railway engineering project on the Indian subcontinent at the time
  • A major challenge in the area was land acquisition as c. 43,000 landowners had to be negotiated with
  • Although land-related lawsuits are common in the Konkan, when KRCL began persuading people to give up property that had belonged to them for generations, many gave it up voluntarily, convinced of the importance of the project
  • This enabled the entire process to be completed in just a year
  • There were challenges posed by the terrain and the elements. Flash floods, landslides and tunnel collapses affected work at many places on the project
  • The region was also thickly forested, and construction sites were often plagued by wild animals
  • Despite these problems, work on the project continued, and an effective system of decentralisation enabled better efficiency
  • The entire stretch of 740 kilometres (460 mi) was divided into seven sectors – Mahad, Ratnagiri, Kudal, Panaji, Karwar, Udupi – of approximately 100 km each, headed by a Chief Engineer
  • This route mainly passes through 3 major states, Maharashtra, Goa & Karnataka
  • Each state accepted to bear a few parts of financing
  • The authorised share capital was raised in 1996-97 from Rs 600 crore to Rs 800 crore, with the government of India taking a 51 percent share, while the rest went to Maharashtra (22 percent), Karnataka (15 percent), Kerala (6 percent) and Goa (6 percent)
  • However, the corporation has only received Rs 746.40 crore by way of paid-up capital so far
  • Contracts for the project were awarded to some of the biggest and most reputed construction firms in India, including Larsen & Toubro, Gammon India and AFCONS. To enable quicker construction, several innovative practices were adopted
  • Piers for major bridges were cast on the riverbanks itself and launched using cranes mounted on pontoons
  • The technique of incremental launching of bridge spans was used for the first time in India
  • Since it would take too long to complete the project using locally available tunnelling technology, nine hydraulic tunnelling machines were imported from Sweden in order to bore through the hard rock of the Sahayadris
  • The biggest challenge, however, came from the nine tunnels that had to be bored through soft soil
  • No technology existed anywhere in the world for this purpose and the work had to be carried out through a painstakingly slow manual process
  • The excavation was almost impossible due to the clayey soil that was saturated with water owing to a high water table in the region
  • Several times tunnels collapsed immediately after they had been dug, necessitating work to be redone
  • Nineteen lives and four years were lost while constructing the soft soil tunnels alone
  • In all, seventy-four people perished during the construction of the line

KONKAN RAILWAY : COMPLETION


  • Amid all the controversies, challenges and problems dogging the project, work continued to progress
  • In March 1993, the southernmost section of 47 kilometres (29 mi) between Thokur and Udupi in Karnataka was inaugurated, followed by the northernmost section of 47 kilometres (29 mi) between Roha and Veer in Maharashtra in June 1993
  • ‘The first passenger train on the route was run between Mangaluru and Udupi on 20 March 1993
  • The service was extended by 51 kilometres (32 mi) from Veer to Khed in March 1995, and by a further 265 kilometres (165 mi) from Khed to Sawantwadi Road in December 1996
  • Services on the southern end were extended by 32 kilometres (20 mi) from Udupi to Kundapura in January 1995, and by a further 275 kilometres (171 mi) till Pernem in Goa in August 1997
  • However, through services between Mumbai and Mangalore continued to remain on hold due to a problematic tunnel at Pernem, which was facing repeated cave-ins and flooding
  • The tunnel was finally completed in January 1998, six years after its construction had commenced
  • Through services on the line commenced after a formal inauguration of the entire stretch of 740 kilometres (460 mi) from Roha to Mangaluru on 26 January 1998
  • Trains carrying passengers started running along the full route between Mumbai and Mangaluru from May 1998
 

KONKAN RAILWAY : ROUTE


  • The route from Roha to Veer is a Double-Line Track whereas the rest of the route till Thokur is a single-line track, and is getting electrified currently
  • The total length of the line is about 738 kilometres (459 mi)
  • Although it has been designed for high-speed traffic of 160 kilometres per hour (99 mph), the fastest train on the route, the Trivandrum Rajdhani Express, which used to run at a maximum speed of 140 kilometres per hour (87 mph) earlier now runs at Maximum speed of 110 Kilometres per hour due to upgradion of locos to High Horse Power
  • The route is open to both freight and passenger traffic
  • The line runs parallel to the Arabian Sea, offering views along the coast
  • The Konkan railway route intersects national highway National Highway 66 (India) at many places
  • There are fifty-six stations on the entire line
  • Although the route is currently a single line, KR and South Western Railway lines run parallel from Majorda to Margao in Goa, making that section a double line

KONKAN RAILWAY : TRACK DOUBLING


  • According to a study conducted by Konkan Railway, doubling the track is possible on about 300 km that runs on the plains
  • There are several patches along the 738 kilometres (459 mi) line that can be converted to double track
  • For example, the 47 km from the starting point at Roha to Veer. The 60 km stretch between Udupi and Mangalore is another stretch
  • The doubling of the tracks is estimated to cost Rs 10,000 crore. Konkan Railways aimed to complete this project by 2020
  • In October 2018, the railway announced that the 46 km stretch between Roha and Veer would have double tracks by December 2019
  • Electrification of the Konkan Railway route is in progress at an estimated cost ₹800 crore by Larsen & Toubro and Kalpataru Power Transmission Limited (KPTL) and will be completed by February 2020

KONKAN RAILWAY : NEW STATIONS


  • The Konkan Railway will have new stations at Indapur, Goregoan Road, Sape Wamane, Kalbani, Kadwai, Verawali, Kharepatan, Achirne, Mirjan and Innanje by December 2019

KONKAN RAILWAY : OPERATIONS


  • The Konkan Railway has 738.941 Route Kilo Metres(RKMs)
  • The total Track Kilo Metres(TKMs) of this line is 918.515
  • State wise Route Kilometers: Maharashtra-381.181, Karnataka-251.76 and Goa-106

KONKAN RAILWAY : PASSENGER TRAINS


  • The route became quite popular with passengers from the day it was opened, due to the connectivity it provided to regions hitherto inaccessible by rail, as well as the substantial savings in time for commuters between western and southern India
  • Several trains, which earlier took circuitous routes were diverted via the Konkan Railway, leading to a reduction in running time
  • The first of these was the Mumbai – Mangaluru Netravati Express later extended to Trivandrum, which was diverted via the Konkan Railway from 1 March 1998, followed by the Trivandrum Rajdhani from 1 April 1998
  • The Matsyaganda Express running from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus to Mangalore was flagged off on 1 May 1998
  • The Hazrat Nizamuddin – Mangalore Mangala Lakshadweep Express was diverted on the route from 1 August 1998 and extended to Ernakulam Junction
  • The Pune-Ernakulam Junction Express was introduced on 25 February 1999
  • Another train called Marusagar Express, which runs between Jaipur and Ernakulam Junction (Now extended till Ajmer) via the Konkan Railway began its service on 12 October 2001
  • The Jan Shatabdi Express was flagged off between Mumbai and Madgaon (longest running Jan Shatabdi) on 16 April 2002, to commemorate 150 years of the existence of Indian Railways
  • On 1 February 2008, a Garib Rath between Kochuveli satellite station of Thiruvananthapuram and Lokmanya Tilak Terminus was flagged off
  • In 2009 Mumbai–Karwar tri-weekly Super Fast express was introduced. Within a year it was extended to Mangalore Junction railway station and ran daily
  • In 2011 Pune–Ernakulam Super Fast express via Panvel was introduced on a bi-weekly basis
  • In 2012, a train from Sawantwadi To Dadar was launched, named as Rajya Rani Express, Now known as Tutari Express
  • The Tejas Express is India’s first semi-high speed full AC train fleet introduced by Indian Railways, featuring newer modern on-board facilities. The inaugural run of Tejas Express was on 24 May 2017 from Mumbai CSMT to Karmali, Goa. It covered 552 km in 8 hours and 30 minutes

KONKAN RAILWAY : FREIGHT


A RORO train seen at Sawantwadi Road station

 
Approaching ends of tunnels are chain locked to prevent land sliding and shooting stones
  • Freight response to the Konkan Railway was lukewarm, prompting the worried corporation to consider cutting rates
  • With an outstanding debt of ₹3375 crore, KRCL was banking on freight traffic to bail it out
  • In an effort to attract freight traffic, the corporation began creating awareness among local industries on the route
  • In 1999, the corporation introduced the Roll-on/roll-off (RORO) service, a unique road-rail synergy system, on the section between Kolad in Maharashtra and Verna in Goa which was extended up to Surathkal in Karnataka in 2004
  • The RORO service, the first of its kind in India, allowed trucks to be transported on flatcars
  • It was highly popular carrying about 1.6 lakh trucks and bringing in over ₹120 crore worth of earnings to the corporation till 2009

KONKAN RAILWAY : DIFFICULTIES & OVERCOMING CHALLENGES


  • The hostile terrain and difficult weather conditions of the Konkan region resulted in problems continuing to dog the line even after its inauguration
  • The first problems surfaced during the monsoon of 1998, when torrential rainfall caused landslides at many places, washed away tracks and disrupted services
  • Despite the corporation’s efforts at addressing the problems through engineering measures such as protective netting along cuttings to prevent boulders from rolling onto the tracks, the problems continued to recur each year
  • The first major accident on the line occurred on the night of 22 June 2003, when a landslide caused an express train travelling from Karwar to Mumbai to derail at the entrance to a tunnel
  • Fifty-one people died as a result of the accident, and several others were injured. As a result of the accident, the corporation came under heavy criticism for failing to adhere to adequate safety measures in the landslide-prone region
  • An inquiry revealed the cause of the accident to be a failure of a cutting due to absence of monsoon patrolling
  • The findings were disputed by the corporation, which insisted that the lack of monsoon patrolling did not lead to the accident which was entirely a result of the forces of nature
  • Shortly after the accident, the corporation announced that it would enhance safety measures on the route
  • Barely a year later, these measures were found to be inadequate when a second major accident occurred on the line on 16 June 2004
  • The Matsyaganda Express bound to Mumbai from Mangalore derailed and fell off a bridge after colliding with boulders on the tracks, killing 20 people
  • Again, the corporation insisted that the mishap was a result of nature’s fury
  • After the accident, questions were raised about the safety and credibility of the Konkan Railway
  • An enquiry by the Commissioner of Railway Safety revealed the cause of the accident to be due to “falling of boulders and earth” on the tracks
  • After the report, the corporation swung into action, implementing all its recommendations, including limiting the speed of trains during the monsoon to 75 km/h (47 mph) as opposed to the regular speed limit of 120 km/h (75 mph), as well as undertaking several geo-technical engineering works, including boulder netting, shotcreting, rock bolting, micropiling and vetiver plantations along the line to increase safety

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