Veli tourist village, the landscaped picnic spot near the capital where the Veli lake meets the Arabian Sea, is all set to house the miniature railway project as part of Kerala Tourism’s ambitious plan to make holidaying a fun-filled experience.
The young and adult will be able to travel in the idyllic village and the beachside in the solar-powered mini train with the exterior of the engine modelled on steam engine of yesteryears for 2.8 km.
Artificial fumes as in the steam locomotive, a traditionally modelled railway station, tunnel and railway bridge will be created in the path to give the nostagic ambience to the riders.
To be operated by Kerala State Cooperative Tourism Federation Ltd (Tourfed), the 10 ft locomotive, with 3.5 ft breadth and a height of 5.5 to 6.5 ft, will be shaped like a steam locomotive.
The rolling stock will be of international design and the train will be able to carry 48 passengers. Each sleekly designed coach will have roof top solar panels to draw power directly. Each coach will be able to carry 12 to 16 passengers.
There will be track changing points and additional tracks for facilitating train crossings. Old fashioned Arm Signals will be provided along the route adding aestheticism with safety for the 25-minute ride.
Side protection to the tracks will be given using wood, meshing, steel frame and fibreglass partition to ensure safety of the riders and other visitors. Turntables will be provided at one end to turn the engines around the old fashioned way.
The train will commence journey from the mini railway station near the entrance of the tourist village, traverse the artificial lake, and move besides the floating restaurant of the KTDC. It will cross over to the other side of the village over a new railway bridge to be constructed parallel to the present floating bridge and go around the artificial mound, tunnel before returning back to the station.
Tourism Minister, Kadakampally Surendran said the mini train powered by solar energy will be the first of its kind in the country and will be the major attraction to the young and old. The project is part of the Rs. 30 crore development works initiated in the village.
The Uralungal Labour Contract Society Ltd, entrusted with the work of the Rs. 9 crore project, has been asked to complete the work in nine months. “We are planning to run 10 trips daily. The ride will cost Rs. 30. The Tourfed led by chairman C. Ajayakumar will operate the project and the revenue will be shared with Kerala Tourism, ” Managing Director Shaji Madhavan said.
With five coaches
In the first stage, the train will run with five coaches. Tourism Minister will chair a high-level meeting on Tuesday to finalise the way forward for the project that has already been approved.
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