India's longest electrified rail tunnel built by Indian Railways is finally open! M Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India, inaugurated the country’s longest electrified railway tunnel between Cherlopalli and Rapuru railway stations and an electrified railway line between Venkatachalam and Obulavaripalli in Andhra Pradesh recently. The South Central Railway zone of the Railway Ministry had recently successfully completed the construction of the 6.7 km long tunnel in a record time of 43 months.
On June 25, 2019, two freight trains successfully ran between the Cherlopalli and Rapuru railway stations, marking the full-scale operation of the newly built electrified rail line, thereby opening viable railway connectivity between the Krishnapatnam Port and its hinterland areas for seamless movement of freight train services.
Some of the salient features of the country's longest electrified tunnel by Indian Railways are as follows:
The 6.7 km long electrified tunnel, which has been built at a cost of Rs 437 crore, has a total of 44 trolley refuges and 14 cross-passages in a horseshoe design.
The tunnel is a game-changer for freight operations on this zone as it made freight services possible in Obulavaripalli-Venkatachalam-Krishnapatnam Port line for a distance of almost 113 km.
The tunnel is built in straight alignment and is 6,660 metres long, while the height of the tunnel is 6.5 metres.
The full-length lining of the tunnel has been provided with 300 mm thickness.
In the tunnel, two traction power supply substations have been provided near Cherlopalli and near Adurupalli with the necessary switching railway stations in between.
An OHE (overhead equipment) maintenance depot has been set up at Rapuru along with a tower-car shed.
Along with these, LED lighting has also been provided inside the tunnel at 10 metre intervals.
According to South Central Railway zone, the new 112-km railway line, which has also been inaugurated reduces the travel time from 10 to five hours for a freight train to operate from Krishnapatnam Port to Obulavaripalli.
Some of the salient features of the new railway line between Venkatachalam and Obulavaripalli are as follows:
The railway line was completed at a cost of Rs 1,993 crore, with nine railway stations along the route, 60 road-under-bridges, 146 bridges and two tunnels.
The railway line also reduces the distance by 72 km for the trains coming from Guntakal Division to Krishnapatnam and eases the traffic density in the Obulavaripalli-Renigunta-Gudur section. Interestingly, the railway line has no level crossings.
Besides facilitating the operation of freight trains on the Obulavaripalli-Venkatachalam-Krishnapatnam Port route, the new line would also provide the shortest path for the Chennai-Howrah and Chennai-Mumbai railway routes
The line will also ease congestion of both passenger trains and freight trains in the Vijayawada-Gudur-Renigunta-Guntakal sections.