Electrification and construction of a second track on the 102km Vanchi - Maniyachchi - Nagarcoil line is expected to cost Rs 11.1bn, including a 5% cost escalation. This is an important trunk route serving both Tamil Nadu and the neighbouring state of Kerala. Usage currently exceeds 90% of capacity.

In recent years Indian Railways has faced persistent demands for more trains on the Madurai - Vanchi and Maniyachchi - Tiuticorin lines due to increasing tourism and rising traffic to and from the region’s ports. Capacity utilisation is currently 106% and forecast to reach 154% within four years.

Track-doubling and electrification of the two sections, which have a total length of 160km, will cost Rs 12.5bn.

The cabinet has also approved a Rs 15.5bn project to construct a second track on the 86.6km line linking Kerala’s state capital Thiruvananthapuram with the pilgrimage centre of Kanniyakumari in Tamil Nadu

The Thiruvananthapuram - Nagarcoil section is already saturated and the start of operations at Vizhinjam will exacerbate the situation, with IR expected to handle 30% of hinterland traffic from the port.