Ratnachal Express is one of the fastest and Prestigious trains on Visakhapatnam–Vijayawada section
|Operator(s)||South Central Railway|
|Track length||350 km (217 mi)|
|No. of tracks||2|
|Track gauge||1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) Broad gauge|
|Operating speed||up to 130 km/h (81 mph)|
The Visakhapatnam–Vijayawada section (also known as Visakhaptnam-Vijayawada line) is a railway line connecting Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada both in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The main line is part of the Howrah-Chennai main line. The track from Visakhapatnam to Thadi is under the administrative jurisdiction of East Coast Railway, and the rest of the line from Anakapalle to Vijayawada is under the administrative jurisdiction of South Central Railway.
The Visakhapatnam-Vijayawada line traverses the central part of the Eastern Coastal Plains, lying between the Eastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal. The area also forms part of the Northern Circars. The main line crosses the Godavari at the top of its delta.
The coastal area through which this line traverses is subject to severe thrust of cyclone and rains, which damage tracks and disrupt rail movement. The coastal plains often receive around 55 inches (1,400 mm) of rain, mostly during the monsoon months.
Visakhapatnam Port at the mouth of the Meghadrigedda was opened in 1933. It was initially developed by Bengal Nagpur Railway. The port has an inner harbour and an outer harbour. Visakhapatnam port handled 68.04 million tonnes of cargo in 2010-11, which was the second highest in India after Kandla. Visakhapatnam port is being upgraded to handle ships up to 200,000 DWT.
A minor port is proposed to be developed at Bheemunipatnam, near the mouth of the Gosthani River. Kakinada Deep Water Port, a part of Kakinada Port, was commissioned in 1997. The port can handle vessels up to 50,000 DWT. The port handled 10.81 million tonnes of cargo in 2010-2011. A port is proposed to be developed at Machilipatnam.
Visakhapatnam is an expanding industrial city, with industries ranging from shipyard to oil refinery to steel plant, and many more. Founded as the Scindia Shipyard in 1941, the shipyard was built as a part of The Scindia Steam Navigation Company Ltd., it became Hindustan Shipyard in 1961.Visakhapatnam Refinery, the first oil refinery on the east coast, was established by Caltex Oil Refining Ltd. in 1957, subsequently taken over by the Government of India in 1976 and merged with Hindustan Petroleum in 1978.Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, the first shore-based steel plant in India was commissioned in 1992.
Some years before passenger railways started functioning in India railway lines were laid for carrying construction materials. Amongst these were a line used for construction of the Solani aqueduct over the Ganges Canal near Roorkee in the 1830s, the Red Hill Railroad in 1837 used for construction of a canal near Chennai, and the Godavari Dam Construction Railway used for transporting materials for the construction of the Dowlaisweram Anicut at Rajahmundry around 1845. The project was completed in 1852 and the railway was closed down.
The Red Hill Railroad near Chennai, used in 1837 for transporting granite, is considered by many as the first operational railway in India. Madras Railway was incorporated in 1853 the Great Southern Railway of India was formed in 1858. The Great Southern Railway of India was merged with the Carnatic Railway in 1872 and renamed South Indian Railways in 1874. The main eastward route of Southern Mahratta Railway connected with other routes till Vijayawada (then known as Bezwada) in 1888. The mainline of Nizam's Guaranteed State Railway was extended to Vijayawada in 1889.
During the period 1893 to 1896, 1,287 km (800 mi) of the East Coast State Railway, from Vijayawada to Cuttack was built and opened to traffic. The construction of the Old Godavari Bridge in 1897 and construction of the Vijayawada-Madras link in 1899 enabled the through running of trains.
In the early 1950s legislation was passed authorizing the central government to take over independent railway systems that were there. On 14 April 1951 the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway, the South Indian Railway Company and Mysore State Railway were merged to form Southern Railway. Subsequently, Nizam's Guaranteed State Railway was also merged into Southern Railway. On 2 October 1966, the Secunderabad, Solapur, Hubli and Vijayawada Divisions, covering the former territories of Nizam’s Guaranteed State Railway and certain portions of Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway were separated from Southern Railway to form the South Central Railway . In 1977, Guntakal division of Southern Railway was transferred to South Central Railway and the Solapur division transferred to Central Railway. Amongst the seven new zones created in 2010 was South Western Railway, which was carved out of Southern Railway.
The entire Kharagpur-Visakhapatnam-Vijayawada main line is classified as a “Group B” line which can take speeds up to 130 km/h. On the branch lines the speed limit is 100 km/hr.
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