The metre gauge track was closed for conversion on Dec. 31, 2010
In all probability, Usilampatti will get back rail connectivity by the turn of 2020 as the broad gauge line on Madurai-Usilampatti stretch under Madurai-Bodinaickanur gauge conversion project has been planned for completion by December.
The metre gauge track was closed for conversion on December 31, 2010. Work on constructing 70 minor bridges and two major bridges has been completed in the 37-km-long Madurai-Usilampatti stretch.
“As of now, ballast dumping and track laying work is under way,” a senior railway official told The Hindu. The BG track up to Usilampatti would be laid by December. The official said that train services could be introduced on Madurai-Usilampatti section once the line was cleared for train operation.
Meanwhile, construction of 120 minor bridges and six major bridges in the 53-km-long Usilampatti-Bodi section is under way. The work is progressing as per the current schedule of completing the entire project by March 2020. Provision for crossings of trains is to be made at Usilampatti, Andipatti and Theni railway stations.
The salient feature of the gauge conversion work will be elimination of all unmanned level crossings in the 90-km stretch of Madurai-Bodi line that runs through Madurai and Theni districts.
Out of the existing 60 level crossing gates, 39 level crossings will be converted into limited height subways. The rest will be manned. A total of 27 limited use subways (out of 38 level crossing gates) will come up in Usilampatti-Bodi section and 12 subways (out of 22 LC gates) in Madurai-Usilampatti section. The absence of unmanned level crossings would significantly increase safety, the official added.
People of Madurai and Theni districts are missing the train services in this section for nearly a decade now. The passenger train services were popular among government staff, college and school students. Besides, agricultural produce, especially cardamom from Theni district, were moved through trains to different parts of the country.
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