Maharashtra government to fund upgradation of 21-km Nagpur-Naghbid line

Updated: Jun 27, 2020, 16:15 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

The long-pending demand for the conversion of last remaining narrow-gauge line between Itwari to Nagbhid into a broad-gauge line on South East Central Railway will be taken over by Maharashtra Rail Infrastructure Development Corporation (MahaRail)

Picture/Rajendra B Aklekar
Picture/Rajendra B Aklekar

The Maharashtra government on Thursday agreed to participate in the gauge conversion work of Nagpur (Itwari) – Nagbhid Railway line. The estimated project cost of the line, that has already been accorded ‘In-Principle Approval’ by Indian Railways (IPA), is about Rs 1,400 crore.

The long-pending demand for the conversion of last remaining narrow-gauge line between Itwari to Nagbhid (116 km) into a broad-gauge line on South East Central Railway will now be implemented by Maharashtra Rail Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (MahaRail). The corporation said it aims to fasten the construction work and complete the project in less than 21 months.

The MRIDC or MahaRail is a joint venture of the Maharashtra government and the Indian Railways on a 50:50 basis with an objective to boost the rail infrastructure projects in Maharashtra by providing critical connectivity and capacity enhancement. MRIDC’s mandate is to identify the traffic potential of different regions of the state, including rail connectivity to the neighbouring states and to find out economically viable projects and to implement them with fast track quality construction and commissioning.

The Nagpur – Wardha and Nagpur - Gondia routes are saturated and overutilised. Out of the 628 km narrow gauge network under Nagpur division of SECR, only Itwari - Nagbhid was pending for conversion. With the Broad-Gauge Conversion work, MahaRail has planned to provide a chord line to fields of the Western Coalfields Limited (WCL). This will allow economical and safer coal movement to various thermal plants in this region.

The main aim of this project is to expedite the coal movement from the coal mines and reduce congestion on the existing route. Nagpur (Itwari) and Nagbhir were directly linked by a narrow-gauge railway network via Umrer and by two broad gauge railway networks via Wardha and Gondia.

“To start the work on this route, MRIDC had closed the entire section from Nagpur (Itwari) to Nagbhid for narrow gauge traffic movement in December 2019. All the clearances have been taken and designs are ready. The plan is to connect the rail line to coal mines in Umrer that will also become an alternative to passenger trains as well as a direct link to north-southbound freight trains,” said MRIDC managing director Rajesh Kumar Jaiswal.

MRIDC is going to use the latest technology for track installation which will expedite the progress with the help of NTC machine. New station buildings are also planned to be designed as per the latest specifications.

Significance of the project:

• Converted Broad Gauge Line will be operational for goods and passenger trains with a lot of environmental and financial benefits.

• It will reduce coal rake movement time from the present 22 hours to 4 hours.

• It will facilitate decongestion of Nagpur, Kalumna, Itwari, Ajni, and Wardha Railway yards. Thus, facilitating the running of shuttle passenger trains in and around Nagpur.

• The movement of coal rake from captive mines of MAHAGENCO at Chandrapur to Koradi will also be facilitated by reduction in travel time.

• Conversion of existing Narrow Gauge to Broad Gauge shall reduce the congestion in these routes and enable energy efficient and faster movement of cargo supply in this region.

• The proposed project will be of immense benefit to MAHAGENCO in procurement of coal from Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) mines located in Umred & Chandrapur district, which is in close proximity to various Thermal Power Plants in the Nagpur region.

• The other major plants which will be benefited are Koradi Thermal Power Station (KTPS), Khaperkheda Thermal Power Station (KPKD), Adani Power Maharashtra Ltd, Tirora (APML, Tirora), Mauda Super Thermal Power Station or NTPC Mauda.

• The route would also be electrified, thereby, ensuring faster movement of goods as well as passenger trains on the route.

• Once completed the Nagpur (Itwari)-Nagbhir section would ease congestion on the Wardha-Sewagram-Nagpur route as it has become oversaturated.

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