Thiruvananthapuram Monorail

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Thiruvananthapuram Monorail
തിരുവനന്തപുരം മോണോറെയില്‍
Overview
Locale Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
Transit type Straddle-beam monorail
Number of lines 1
Number of stations 19
Daily ridership 246,000 trips per day (2019 estimate)
Operation
Began operation 2020
Operator(s) Kerala Monorail Corporation Ltd. (KMCL)
Train length 3 coaches 18 stations
Headway 4.5 minutes
Technical
System length 22.20 km (13.79 mi)
Average speed 40 km/h (25 mph)
Top speed 80 km/h (50 mph)

The Thiruvananthapuram Monorail is a proposed monorail system in the city of Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of the Indian state of Kerala.

History[edit]

Thiruvananthapuram's first attempt to build a rapid transit system for the city failed, when its proposal to build a metro rail system was rejected by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) in the 2000s. DMRC cited that the city did not require a metro as it could meet its traffic needs for the next 10–15 years by developing the existing road systems alone.[1] The Government of Kerala, then entrusted the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC), an autonomous research body under the State Government, to conduct the feasibility study of the proposal to build a monorail system in Thiruvananthapuram. The feasibility study was conducted by a core team comprising five scientists of NATPAC and various survey teams. Topographic studies, identification of stations and surveys were the main components of the study.[2] NATPAC carried out the study for a monorail system from Technocity to Neyyattinkara, a distance of 41.8 km with 35 stations, along NH 47.[3] NATPAC submitted their report in February 2012, concluding that the Thiruvananthapuram Monorail project was feasible. They also suggested that the stretch from Technocity to Thampanoor, a distance of 22.2 km with 19 stations, to be taken up as Phase I of the project.[3] The Kerala Transport Development Finance Corporation Limited (KTDFC) is liaising with NATPAC and other agencies as the nodal agency for the project.[4]

The State Government had initially asked the state transport department to prepare a detailed project report (DPR).[5] However, the DMRC was later entrusted with the task. DMRC principal advisor E. Sreedharan submitted the DPR to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on 11 December 2012.[6] DMRC suggested that Phase I of the project be up to Karamana where terminal facilities for serving passengers from Neyyattinkara area could be provided more conveniently. The Government of Kerala approved the DPR and accorded administrative sanction for the project, as per order No. GO (Ms) 44/2013/PWD dated 30 May 2013, for a cost of INR 35.90 billion (approx. US$641 million). As per the approved DPR, the total length of the monorail system is 22.537 km with 19 stations.[3] The State Cabinet decided to form a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to implement monorail projects in Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram, and administrative sanction was given in October 2012.[7] The state government issued orders entrusting the Thiruvananthapuram Monorail project to the KMCL on 26 November 2012. The government had handed over the Kozhikode Monorail project to the KMCL prior to that.[8]

In April 2013, following a KMCL board meeting, it was announced that the Thiruvananthapuram Monorail project would be temporarily shelved with the director board observing that the basic infrastructure facilities in Thiruvananthapuram would have to be improved before executing the project. According to Chief Minister Chandy, "A four-lane track between Kazhakoottam and Thampanoor is the first priority in Thiruvananthapuram. The execution of the project can take place only after the completion of this proposal".[9]

On 12 June 2013, the State Cabinet gave clearance for an agreement to be signed between KMCL and DMRC, that would make the latter the general consultant for the monorail projects in Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram. DMRC will be responsible for the design, preparation of the bid document, shortlisting, and selection of contractors, supervision, and quality certification.[10] The DMRC will receive 3.25% of the INR 55.81 billion (INR 35.90 billion for Thiruvananthapuram and INR 19.91 billion for Kozhikode) as consultancy fee for the projects.[11] The agreement was signed on 19 June 2013.[12] It was a single agreement for both projects as the general consultant (DMRC) and the executing agency (KMCL) were the same.[13][14]

Global tenders were floated for the Thiruvananthapuram Monorail, along with the Kozhikode Monorail, by treating the two projects as one as only a 36.4 km stretch would be covered in the first phase in both the cities.[15] The successful bidder had to be a consortium, which would have to supply rolling stock, do civil works, operation and maintenance and electric and electronic services for the monorail.[16] The monorail will be awarded to a single contractor who will be responsible for all the aspects like civil construction, providing rakes, electrical cabling, signaling as well as operation and maintenance.[17] Tenders for the technical bids for the project were originally scheduled to be submitted on 1 October 2013, but it was postponed to 15 October following requests from the participants.[15] However, only a consortium led by Bombardier Transportation was the only firm that came forward with the expression of interest (EOI) when the extended deadline for submission ended on 15 October. Apart from Bombardier pre-bid queries had been made by Japanese firm Hitachi, Malaysian firm Scomi,[16] and firms specialising in MRTS from the United Kingdom, South Korea and China.[18] Hitachi was expected to be the front-runner in the two projects, as it was supposed to get funding from JICA. According to a top PWD official, Hitachi and Scomi had expressed interest during the pre-bid stages. However, Hitachi was denied funding by the JICA due to doubts about the Kerala government’s ability to repay the debt. JICA was also concerned by its experience on a water supply drinking scheme in the stat. The Meenad-Pattuvam-Calicut drinking water scheme was delayed by over two-and-a-half years.[19] Public works minister VK Ebrahim Kunju announced in a news release on 22 October 2013, that the government would go for re-tendering as only a single bidder had expressed interest in the project. The re-tendering was recommended by a high-level committee of the DMRC.[20]

The DMRC suggested the exclusion of two major clauses in the tender. One of the clauses required suppliers of the rolling stock to find 70% funding for the project, and the other clause mandated that only rolling stock manufacturers could attend the tender. Kunju stated that these clauses had been excluded and companies could now form consortiums with rolling stock manufacturers and participate in the bid. The DMRC also suggested reducing the tender formalities from three stages to two to save time. The three-step tender proceedings, which included expression of interest, technical bid and financial bid. The original tender permitted only those who qualified the global expression of interest to attend the technical and financial bids, while the re-tender contained only technical and financial bids.[21] The supplier's credit norm was also removed following a directive of the Urban Affairs Ministry, thereby avoiding the clause that the company coming forward should mobilise funds for the project, which paved the way for domestic burrowing.[18] Some relaxations were also made on other clauses, such as the technical specifications to attract more companies.[16] The qualified bids will be subsequently forwarded to the State government for evaluation.[22]

The DMRC submitted the revised DPR for the monorail projects in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode to the KMCL in January 2014. The revised DPR promised 8% financial internal rate of returns (FIRR) as stipulated by planning commission. The Centre and state governments were expected to contribute 20% each of the project cost as equity participation, while the balance fund was to be raised as loan as per the earlier DPR. However, as per the latest planning commission norm, the Centre can provide equity participation only in those projects which assure at least 8% FIRR, whereas the earlier DPR for the monorail projects promised only 3% FIRR. The Times of India quoted a PWD official as saying, "The scaling up of FIRR has been achieved by weaving in some more commercial projects which would add to the non-traffic revenues from the projects. We would need some more land to execute those projects."[17] The revised DPR also added new chapters, including disaster management and financial viability.[23][24] The last date for submission of the global tenders was extended again to April 15,[23][25] because companies interested in the bid demanded more time to study the financial aspects, design, etc.

Bombardier Transportation, Hitachi, Afcons, Scomi, and Larsen and Toubro expressed interest in the project after tender norms were revised by the DMRC. A pre-bid meeting was held in New Delhi on 20 February 2014.[26] SBI Capital Market, the financial consultants of the project, carried out the financial appraisal of the project, and submitted their report in March 2014.[23][24] Despite the model code of conduct for the 2014 general elections being in force, the state government issued a directive forcing the PWD to cancel all tenders floated after March 4, after the government came to know that tenders were being floated by the PWD even though the code of conduct was in force. The PWD was also told to invite new tenders and bids only after 10 April (the polling day), after seeking approval of the government. This directive delayed work on the Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram monorail projects.[27]

Plan[edit]

NATPAC had proposed a mass rapid transit system for the 41.8 km Mangalapuram-Ulloor–Overbridge-Killippalam-Neyyattinkara corridor, with the 22.2-km phase from Mangalapuram to Thampanoor as the first phase and the 19.6 km from Thampanoor to Neyyattinkara as the second phase.[8] It planned to have the car depot at Technocity.[6][28] However, the DPR submitted by DMRC made changes to the original plan. It proposed a monorail corridor from Technocity to Karamana, covering a distance of 22.20 km, with the depot shifted to Karamana as adequate land had been identified by the side of the National Highway.[8] The Thiruvananthapuram Monorail will start from Technocity and terminate at Karamana covering a distance of 22.537 km with 19 stations, along the old NH 47. Slight deviations were made in the alignment to accommodate the proposed flyovers at Kazhakuttam, Sreekariyam and Ulloor. Special spans are proposed where the monorail crosses the railway line at Railway Km 221/6-8. The car depot is located on a 12.5 hectares of Government land near the CRPF Camp at Pallipuram.[3]

The original alignment of the route would have passed through a centuries-old agraharam at Valiyasala street. The 240 families living in the area successfully petitioned the monorail executing agencies and the government to bypass the 250-metre Valiyasala street. The DMRC communicated the decision to the Vyasa Residents Association (VRA)representing the local community on 8 February 2014. The alternative route proposed by the DMRC would cut across the shunting neck at Thampanoor through an obligatory span to the end of the Thycaud Railway Over Bridge's arm and from there proceed to Choorakattupalayam through the median to come up on the NH 66 at the Killipalam junction. The original alignment that cut across the street had been chosen to avoid the RoB. The DMRC asked the government and the KMCL to get the 700-metre stretch of NH 66 from near the Thycaud RoB (Choorakattupalayam to Killipalam junction) widened to 21 metres so that the agraharam can be bypassed.[29] The project will be built in 3 phases.[6] Stations would be located at Technocity, Pallippuram, Kaniyapuram, Kazhakuttom, Kazhakuttom Junction, Karyavattom, Gurumandiram, Pangappara, Sreekariyam, Pongumoodu, Ulloor, Kesavadasapuram, Pattom, Plamoodu, Palayam, Secretariat, Thampanoor, Killipalam, and Karamana.[30] The line will be built in three phases.

Route Terminals Length (km) Stations Opening date
Route 1 Technocity Kariavattom 7
Route 2 Kariavattom Kesavadasapuram 8
Route 3 Kesavadasapuram Karamana 8
Total Technocity Karamana 22.20 19 April 2018

Route 1[edit]

Route 1 covers a distance of 7 km from Technocity to Kariavattom. The total requirement of land for Route 1 is 17.170 hectares; of which, 13.75 hectares is government land, 0.58 hectares with railways and 2.820 hectares with private parties. According to the DPR, 39 families and 65 shops will be affected by the project.[31] Route 1 is expected to be commissioned 30 months after the contractor is finalised.[32]

Route 2 and Route 3[edit]

The Route 2 section of the monorail is expected to be completed five years after the contractor is finalised.[32]

The widening of the 8 km Karyavattom-Kesavadasapuram stretch of NH-66 is a crucial factor in the completion of the monorail. DMRC Principal Adviser E. Sreedharan stated that monorail civil works could commence only after the widening, as pillars for the monorail had to be erected. Two-track beams on circular pillars have to be erected on the medians for the monorail. The stretch, which falls under the Route 2 section of the monorail, currently has a width of 10 metres. NATPAC, which prepared the DPR for the widening, had proposed a width of 30 metres for the stretch taking into account future needs. However, the state government decided to widen the stretch by 24 metres due to opposition from landowners. The junctions at Sreekaryam and Ulloor will be widened by 29 metres as flyovers have been proposed there. Transport planners believe that the stretch should be widened to 30 metres to cater to increasing traffic volume, and that by succumbing to pressure from the landowners on the stretch, the authorities were ignoring future development needs.[32]

Another crucial factor for the completion of the monorail is the construction of flyovers at the congested Sreekaryam, Ulloor, Pattom and Plamoodu junctions. The DMRC informed the government that construction of these flyovers should be taken up alongside the metro, as it would be difficult to build them afterward. The estimated cost of constructing the flyovers is INR 730 million.[32]

Route 3 can be commissioned only along with Route 2. DMRC has suggested that widening of the Karyavattom-Kesavadasapuram stretch should be handed over to a special agency such as the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation Kerala (RBDCK).[32]

Future Expansion[edit]

The monorail will have provisions for extension towards the south up to Neyyattinkara as well as towards north to attingal. There is another proposal to extend the network to Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.[6]

Cost[edit]

The total cost of the project based on April 2012 price level works out to INR27025.6 million (US$450 million) excluding taxes of INR4.75 billion (US$79 million).[3] The cost to construct one kilometre of the monorail is pegged at INR 1617.1 million.[30] It will be executed in Design, Build-Operate-Transfer (DBOT) mode.[33] The State and Union governments contributed 20% of the project cost each, and the rest was funded by private group. The DMRC, general consultant of the project, was paid 3% of the project cost as consultancy fee.[34]

In the 2012 State Budget, finance minister K. M. Mani, allotted INR200 million (US$3.3 million) for the Thiruvananthapuram Monorail project.[35] On 26 October 2012, the State Government issued an order adding a surcharge of 5% on petrol and diesel sold in the state over the next 10 years to part finance the proposed Kochi Metro and monorail projects in Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram. The State Government earns approximately INR 50 billion annually from petrol and diesel sales in Kerala. Based on this figure, the surcharge is expected to earn the government an additional INR 2.50 billion annually.[36]

The operation and maintenance costs of the monorail are divided into three major parts - staff costs, maintenance cost which include expenditure towards upkeep and maintenance of the system and consumables, and energy costs.[3]

Infrastructure[edit]

Civil structures[edit]

The track beams for up and down tracks, are carried over circular pillars of about 1000 mm diameter generally located along the median of the road. The pier heads should have a minimum clearance of 5.50 metres above the road level. In certain locations, the track beams have to be carried on cantilever and at some locations the track beams are carried over portals. The track beams which are hollow in the cent er portion and solid at the ends are cast with 3 dimension accuracy at a central casting depot proposed to be located in the car depot yard itself and then carried by road trailers to the erection sites and lifted by heavy duty cranes. Then they are stitch ed together and pre-stressed over 5 spans to make one continuous girder. At the expansion joints special "tongue and grove" type steel metallic bearings are used. For evacuation of passengers in the event of the monorail car becoming immobile, a pathway has been proposed between and below the track beams. Generally hard rock is met within 20 to 35 metres from ground level and mono piles may be considered for the foundations thus eliminating pile caps. For special spans, the foundations will be on pile groups.

The minimum distance between track beam centers has been kept as 3.80 meters. On curves, distance has been increased based on the additional clearances needed for mid throw and end throw as well as for super elevation. The maximum distance between the track beams on a curve of radius of 50 m is 4.4 m. The minimum radius adopted for the track alignment is 50 m and maximum gradient for the vertical alignment is 6%.[3]

Rolling stock[edit]

The car body shall be in aluminium to reduce the tare weight. The coaches will be fully air-conditioned with 2 doors on each side and with wide vestibules.[3][6][30] Trains will be driverless but provision will be kept for manual operation as well. Each train will be made up of 3 coaches on the formation - leading car / intermediate car / leading car. The length, width, and height of the leading cars will be up to 16m, up to 3.15m and up to 4.05 m respectively; while the intermediate car will have the same width and height, but a slightly shorter length of up to 15m. The total length of train will be approximately 48 m.[3]

Power[edit]

Traction current is carried through rails of suitable cross section fixed on both sides of the track beams. The traction voltage will be 750V DC (+ 375V and – 375V). Two receiving sub stations are proposed. One at the car depot at Pallipuram and the other at Kesavadasapuram. They will be of 2 x 115 MVA capacity seats. Traction sub stations have proposed at 4 stationsm each having a capacity of 1.5 MVA. Each station will be provided by an Auxiliary Sub Station (ASS) to meet the power requirement of lighting ventilation air-conditioning for operation of lifts and escalators etc. Standby diesel generator set of 100 KVA to 125 KVA capacity will also be installed as a standby arrangement to cater for emergency requirement. Total power planned for the corridor is 19.5 MVA in the year 2041.[3]

Signalling and communications[edit]

The communication based train control (CBTC) system, generally conforming to IEE 1474 and ATS (Automatic Train Supervision), is proposed to be adopted for designed headway of 100 seconds. Provision for automatic train operation as well as driverless train operation has been kept. There will be mobile radio communication between the trains and operation control centre (OCC).[3]

Depot[edit]

The car depot is located over 12.15 hectares of Government-owned land near the CRPF Camp at Pallipuram. The depot will have facilities for stabling the trains overnight, inspection facilities and workshop facilities. The Operation Control Centre (OCC) will be located in the car depot.

Stations[edit]

Three types of stations are proposed for the project - Type 1A, Type 1B and inter-change stations. In both types 1A and 1B, all the facilities and technical rooms are housed outside the right of way and only platforms are provided over the road supported by pillars located on the median of the road. Type 1A Stations are proposed on 45m right of way, i.e. from Technocity to Kazhakootam Junction and Type 1B stations are on 20m right of way, i.e. from Kazhakootam Junction to Karamana. A mezzanine floor is provided at 5.85 m level for passengers to cross the road safely that can be used for people not using the system as a foot over bridge and is in unpaid area. The platform level houses the passenger facilities and technical rooms and the platform. The access to the station is provided from outside the right of way. The Kesavadasapuram and Thampanoor stations are inter-change stations at which the provision for Line 2 has been kept. At the interchange stations passenger movements require more space for circulation than normal stations and the platforms will be provided to cater to large number of interchanging passengers. A passage at mezzanine level has been proposed under the viaduct for passengers to interchange form Line 1 to Line 2.

All stations will have elevators for old and physically challenged persons. Escalators have been provided only at 6 important stations - Techno city, Kazhakoottam, Kesavadasapuram, Pattom, Secretariat and Thampanoor but provision has been kept for installing escalators at all other stations in future. All stations will have fire detection and firefighting arrangements as prescribed in the National Building Codes. There will be passenger announcement system, passenger information display system, centralized clock system and closed circuit television (CCTV) at all stations.[3] Multi-level parking complexes have been proposed near the proposed monorail stations to persuade people to depend more on public transport.[37]

Operations[edit]

Ticketing[edit]

A computer based automatic fare collection system is proposed to be used as the ticketing system for the monorail. The system will be capable of issuing single/multiple journey tickets, amenable for quick fare changes and require overall lesser manpower. For multiple journey, the Store Value Smart Card shall be utilized and for the single journey, the media shall be contactless smart token. The AFC equipment shall be provided at each station at convenient locations and will be connected to a local area network with a computer in the Station Master's room.[3]

Fare[edit]

Proposed fares for the monorail vary from a minimum of INR 8 for two km to INR 30 for 18–24 km. However, the minimum fare projected for 2019 is INR 11 and the maximum INR 42.[6]

Frequency and capacity[edit]

The passenger carrying capacity of a 3 coach train will be in the range of 400 to 525 assuming 6 persons per square meter of standee area, and in the range of 500 to 675 assuming 8 persons per square meter of standee area.[3]

The initial headway will be less than 4.5 minutes, with the provision to reduce it down to 2 minutes during peak hours, to meet the requirement of increased passenger volumes.[3]

Speed[edit]

The monorails would be averaging around 35 – 40 km/h, with one stop every 1 – 1.5 kilometres and with a top speed of 80 km/h. The tyres would be made of rubber to ensure a smooth run over a single rail built at an elevation of 5.5 meters from the surface.[38]

Alternatives to monorail[edit]

DMRC has expressed reservations about the feasibility of the monorail. According to E. Sreedharan, Principal Adviser to the DMRC, "The capital is a developing city and needs more than a monorail". Sreedharan believes that Thiruvananthapuram should instead build a light rail transit system (LRTS) or metro.[39]

Representatives of Hyundai Rotem have proposed to use Maglev technology for setting up a mass rapid transport system in the city.[40]

Personal Rapid Transit[edit]

A Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system in Thiruvananthapuram has been proposed by the Infrastructure Kerala Limited (INKEL). The PRT will use small, automated battery-operated pod-cars running on elevated guideways along major road corridors.

A proposal has been submitted to the Government to implement the project through the Swiss Challenge method. As per this method, the developer who has given the original proposal has the opportunity for first right of refusal. The state cabinet has decided to go ahead with the proposal for implementing the PRT system. The government has decided to set up a Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) model company for executing the project. INKEL has been appointed as the nodal agency and they have been asked to submit a detailed project report.[41] The National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (Natpac) has been asked to carry out detailed traffic studies on the feasibility of the PRT system.

A shift of 40% of the car and auto rickshaw travellers to the new system is expected. The PRT will function as a feeder mode of transport to supplement the proposed monorail system. Each pod will be able to carry up to six passengers from point to point along the identified routes at an average speed of 40 km per hour. The empty pods will wait offline at the stations. The passengers can select their destination from a touch screen kiosk at the station. The pod will choose the most economical route for each journey, travelling non-stop once the passenger gets into it and presses the start button. The pods will be air-conditioned, spacious, and comfortable. Sensors will be attached on the front, rear, and sides of the pods. The pods will ply at an interval of 30 seconds.

The project will be completed in two phases. The first will be from Pallipuram to Thampanoor and the second from Thampanoor to Neyyattinkara. Thirty-five stations are proposed and the track will pass through Vellayambalam, Palayam, Statue, Overbridge, East Fort and Thampanoor.[42] The proposal aims to start the project in Thiruvananthapuram city and also a long distance one in Kottayam, Erumeli, Pampa, Pala and Bharaninganam.

The approximate cost of the project is INR 600 million per kilometre and it can be completed in 24 to 30 months.[43]

Finance Minister K.M. Mani allocated INR 2.5 million in the 2012-13 State Budget for preliminary work on the PRT in Thiruvananthapuram and Kottayam.

The project is expected to be completed in 24 months from date of commencement.[44]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Monorail – The Fading Dream - Trivandrum News. Yentha.com (10 September 2012).
  2. ^ Monorail: Feasibility study ends. Ibnlive.in.com (31 January 2012).
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o KMCL. "EXPRESSION OF INTEREST CUM PREQUALIFICATION FOR PROPOSED MONORAIL PROJECT IN KOZHIKODE AND THIRUVANANTHAPURAM CITIES OF KERALA STATE". DMRC. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "Govt considering SPV for monorail project". The Times of India. 28 December 2011. 
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  11. ^ Agreement with DMRC to be signed on June 19. The Hindu (15 June 2013).
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  13. ^ KMRC signs contract with DMRC for mono rail project - Economic Times. The Economic Times. (19 June 2013).
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  15. ^ a b Radhakrishnan, S. Anil (17 October 2013). "Global tenders again for Trivandrum, Kozhikode monorail". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 
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  19. ^ http://www.deccanchronicle.com/131024/news-current-affairs/article/kerala-state%E2%80%99s-financial-mess-had-hitachi-pull-out
  20. ^ http://newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/Government-will-go-for-re-tendering/2013/10/23/article1850594.ece
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  23. ^ a b c http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/thiruvananthapuram/Paperwork-Stage-Still/2014/02/01/article2031133.ece#.UvU0eoXkjBY
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  27. ^ Radhakrishnan, S. Anil (4 April 2014). "PWD works on the slow lane". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 
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  44. ^ Radhakrishnan, S. Anil (23 March 2012). "Pod-cars to link major work centres". The Hindu (Chennai, India).