The Government of Kerala has approved an Rs660.79bn ($9.3bn) semi high-speed rail (SHSR) project between Kasaragod and the state’s capital Thiruvananthapuram.

The 532km rail corridor is expected to be completed by 2024.

The centre and state government will contribute Rs77.2bn ($1.08bn) each. Half of the cost, Rs344.54bn ($4.8bn), will be attained through loans.

Land acquisition and other related matters will cost the state government around Rs86.56bn ($1.2bn). The union and state governments will meet the remaining expenses through different loans.

The project will be undertaken by Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL), a joint venture between the Government of Kerala and the Ministry of Railways.

It is expected to cut the journey time between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod from 12 hours to four hours, and Thiruvananthapuram to Kochi by 90 minutes.

Under the project, KRDCL will buy around 1,200 hectares of land. They will operate nine coaches initially and will increase the number to 12. The rails will be extended along the urban stretches.

While travelling northwards from Thiruvananthapuram, the track will pass through eleven districts, stopping at ten stations of Kollam, Chengannur, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Tirur, Kozhikode and Kannur before reaching Kasaragod.

The new rail line will also connect the Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi airports. Trains will travel at a maximum speed of 200km per hour.

The project is expected to create jobs for 50,000 during the course of the construction and up to 11,000 once operational.