The proposed project site has space to host trains on a dozen platforms; terminal could decongest Ernakulam Junction and Town stations
The integrated coaching terminal (ICT) proposed on 110 acres of land in the Ponnurunni-Kathrikadavu area is likely to get a shot in the arm, with Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) expected to submit a feasibility report to Southern Railway by December.
The underutilised space in the heart of the city has the potential to host trains on a dozen platforms, apart from having space for repair and maintenance of trains.
‘Biggest railway hub’
“We took up the feasibility study on a request from the Southern Railway. A survey and study are on to garner details like passenger footfall. This could become the biggest railway hub in Kerala, if all goes well.
“It could become a new halt station for trains through Kottayam and a terminal point for new trains that are allotted to Kerala,” said KRDCL sources.
The integrated terminal could also be linked to the Vyttila Mobility Hub located nearby. It would considerably decongest Ernakulam Junction railway station that has only six platforms and Ernakulam Town station that has just two platforms.
The State government and the Railway would bear the cost of the detailed project report (DPR).
Minimal land acquisition might be needed for a 100-m road linking the premises with the Thammanam-Pullepady Road, which was slated to be widened to four lanes, they added.
The Southern Railway entrusted KRDCL with the integrated terminal’s feasibility study, after Hibi Eden, Ernakulam MP, took up the issue with the Chairman of the Railway Board.
He had earlier met the Union Railway Minister to apprise him of the potential that the terminal held to speed up train movement through central Kerala since trains would not have to wait in the city’s suburbs for want of vacant platforms at the two main railway stations.
“A city-based architectural firm had readied a draft design of the terminal, which showed that at least 12 platforms could be constructed on the premises. The Railway would not have to spend any money if the project is executed on the PPP (public-private partnership) model, with the land given on long-term lease, since its land is already available and underutilised.
“The Railway could use the entire ground floor and the terminal premises, while commercial space, including office space for rent, can be developed on the upper floors,” said Mr. Eden.
A station much bigger than Ernakulam Junction and other amenities can be built here, on land which at present houses only the Railway coaching depot and marshalling yard.
A senior Railway official said private participation could take the project forward.
The Railway will encounter numerous procedural and other issues if it were to implement the project. The existing tracks on the premises must be redone, while the dilapidated Railway quarters could be relocated. Space to repair trains could be earmarked within the premises or the facility shifted to the huge vacant space that the Railway owns on Willingdon Island, he said.