Goa: 12 trains cancelled, many diverted as Pernem tunnel leaks again | Latest News India

Goa: 12 trains cancelled, many diverted as Pernem tunnel leaks again | Latest News India

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Panaji: Work along the Konkan Railway line was disrupted for the second day in a row after water leaked through the roof of the tunnel between Pernem railway station in North Goa and Madure station in South Maharashtra, causing waterlogging on the tracks.

Tunnel restoration work being carried out due to water leakage (Twitter/@KonkanRailway)
Tunnel restoration work being carried out due to water leakage (Twitter/@KonkanRailway)

According to the Konkan Railways bulletin on Wednesday, 12 trains, including the Mumbai-Goa and the Vande Bharat Express, were cancelled while over two dozen trains plying on the Konkan Railway route were diverted.

The cancelled trains include the Mumbai – Goa Vande Bharat Express, the Mumbai – Goa Janshatabdi Express, the Mandovi Express and the Mumbai Mangaluru Express, which were scheduled to operate on Wednesday.

The Mandovi Express and the Janshatabdi Express from Margao to Mumbai were also cancelled on Wednesday, as were the Margao-Mumbai Tejas Express and two passenger trains.

Railroad officials said water began seeping from the roof of the Pernem Tunnel around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. Although the track was briefly repaired late Tuesday night, the seepage resumed later in the night around 3 a.m., prompting the tunnel to be closed for a second time.

The Pernem Tunnel, one of the five soft-surface tunnels along the Konkan Railway line, has been a source of constant trouble for the Konkan Railway since work began in 1992. The 1.5 km long tunnel faced endless delays and work, which began in 1992, was completed only in 1998. Nine people were killed during the construction phase, the highest number of fatalities among workers along the route.

“More than 100 workers have been deployed along with 25 supervisors. Our chief engineer is also on site. Apart from our consultants, an international consultant will also be arriving on site. We are working and hope to complete and reopen the track by 8 pm tonight,” said Santosh Kumar Jha, Chief Managing Director of Konkan Railway.

This is not the first time that the problems at the Pernem tunnel have affected the entire Konkan railway route.

In August 2020, a five-metre section of the tunnel collapsed, shutting down the entire route for 40 days. The section of tunnel had been reinforced with mild steel plates and heavy webs.

The Pernem Tunnel delayed the opening of the Konkan Railway by another five months as the tunnel collapsed three months before opening, delaying its reopening.

The tunnel runs through the lateritic plateau bordering the Barazan Plateau on which the new Mopa airport is built.

Engineers faced a daunting task during the construction of the tunnel, as the soft ground kept sinking and resembled ‘toothpaste’ in many places. Engineers working on the project described the Pernem tunnel as a new challenge every day, as the ground ‘alternated between soft schist, slant rock, hard laterite and soft clay’, accompanied by constant water seepage.

The porous laterite rock that makes up much of the hills in the Goa and Konkan regions of Maharashtra and Karnataka is an engineers’ nightmare but acts as an excellent aquifer that retains water for the dry months.

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