The railway division of Vijayawada commissioned the longest electrified tunnel in India. The 6.6 km tunnel stands as an engineering marvel situated between Cherlopalli and Rapuru stations which are a part of the recently completed Obulavaripalli – Venkatachalam railway line.
Two freight trains have made successful runs on June 25, 2019 marking the full-scale operation of the newly built electrified railway line between the two stations. The major benefit of the entire project is providing viable rail connectivity between Krishnapatnam Port and its hinterland for goods train services.
A New Australian Tunneling Method (NATM) was used and overall Rs 460 crore were spent on the construction of the tunnel. Conventional overhead lines have been provided with a maximum span of 36 metre and maximum tension length of 1,206 metre.
Brackets for supporting overhead lines (OHE) have been fixed on wall mounted type plate fittings, which are fixed to the tunnel lining concrete. Also, an overhead line maintenance depot is provided at Rapuru along with tower-car shed.
LED lighting has been provided at every 10 metre intervals within the tunnel. At present, the average travel time taken by goods train from Krishnapatnam Port to Obulavaripalli is 10 hours. On the newly commissioned line, the travel time will be reduced to about five hours, which will result in a saving time.
That the construction of the longest tunnel between Cherlopalli and Rapuru was the major challenge for commissioning of this important and vital railway link. The newly constructed railway line will help in decongesting traffic on Vijayawada – Gudur main line.