The Karnataka government has written to Kerala officials in charge of the project suggesting such an extension.
“They have also expressed willingness to fund the stretch of the high-speed rail corridor passing through their state,” highspeed rail corporation (HSRC) CMD T Balakrishnan said. “They see a lot of potential in attracting passengers to pilgrim centres like Mookambika Temple. Anyway we are planning to extend it to Mangalore, which is a proper terminus than Kasaragod,” Balakrishnan said.
HSRC said the distance of the rail corridor between Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod will be 521 km while it will be 564 km if the project is extended to Mangalore. The distance estimate for Udupi is yet to be worked out. The high speed train, with a speed of 300 km/hour, will reach Kasaragod from Thiruvananthapuram in 2.42 hours. A journey from Thiruvananthapuram to Mangalore will only take in 2.53 hours.
Balakrishnan said the corridor will cover 11 districts and bypass only Wayanad, Palakkad and Idukki. He claimed that the project could break even within six to seven years.
“Japanese agency JICA has shown interest to provide loan for the project and this continues to be the first option. JICA loan will have a moratorium of 10 years and repayment period of about 40 years. We are also keeping our options open on availing loan from ADB and World Bank,’’ he said.