Southern Railway begins work on underpass for jumbos in Madukkarai
S Senthil Kumar, The New Indian Express
November 23, 2022
Southern Railway has commenced preliminary work for the construction of an
underpass to facilitate easy and safe access for wild elephants at km
505A/400-500 in the railway line B coming under the Madukkarai forest range.
Once completed, the underpass will help to prevent wild elephants from
crossing the railway tracks, in search of water and food, and getting hit
by trains. The underpass is the first-of-its-kind project in southern
railway and the Centre has sanctioned Rs 7.49 crore for it. The project is
to be completed in 24 months.
According to sources in Palakkad railway division temporary railway bridge
girders and Christ Church Cribs which is used as temporary stagings in
bridge construction/rehabilitation works, in supporting restricted head
girders or relieving girders under traffic with restricted speed up to a
height of 1800 mm etc have been loaded near the spot.
"We will launch the two temporary girders within the next few weeks.
However, this will be done considering the climatic condition as soil
moisture will be considered. Train movement would be suspended for a few
hours on line B to facilitate the work. The vertical clearance of the
subway will be 6 metres and the width of the passage under the subway will
be 18.3 metres," the official added
"The substructure for the underpass will be constructed using cast-in-situ
method duly providing temporary girder and the superstructure is composite
girder which will be launched by side slewing methodology," the official
The construction work for the second subway will be taken up at
km506/900-506A/00 on the same railway line only after the completion of the
first subway work. According to sources, of the 186 wild elephants that
died after being hit by trains across the country in the ten years till
2020, five elephants were killed in Tamil Nadu. The Ministry of Environment
and Forests' 'Project elephant' division gave this information in an RTI
reply filed by activist R Pandiraja in December 2021.
Southern railway commenced the underpass work based on the direction from
Madras High Court order in February. Pandiraja said, "We will come to know
whether the subway project is successful only when the animals start going
inside. We need to analyse and discuss the ways with forest officials and
elephant expert to make the animals use the subway."