Under public pressure to start a suburban train service in Bengaluru, the South Western Railway (SWR) is likely to introduce new trains on two existing lines that connect the city centre with the suburbs. More trains could run from Bengaluru City to Bangarpet (via Whitefield) and Ramanagaram, given the feasibility to operate the services on the two lines. The two lines have been listed under Phase A, Stage 1, of the Bengaluru suburban railway project, whose detailed project report (DPR) was prepared by RITES, a Central government-owned engineering consultancy. “After several rounds of... more...
discussion with the railways, it has been decided to introduce new trains on these lines on priority. This can be done faster using the existing infrastructure. It’s also possible to add more trains on the Yeshwantpur-Tumakuru railway line,” a state government official, who oversees the city’s suburban project, told DH. Phase A, Stage 1, entails introduction of seven new services or replacement of 15 existing conventional trains with Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) trains. This will cost Rs 360 crore and needs the approval of the state Cabinet, he noted. “Once the state government agrees to fund the project, it will take six to eight months to procure a rake (a group of coaches) and complete the signalling work. The electric-powered trains have engines and can move in both directions without having to take a turn like conventional trains,” the official said. An extensive suburban train project for Bengaluru has been proposed to be spread over three stages and estimated to cost Rs 9,000 crore. It involves commuter train services from Bengaluru City to Hosur (41 km), Doddaballapur (37 km), Ramanagaram (46 km), Tumakuru (64 km), Chikkaballapur (57 km), Bangarpet (84 km) and Nelamangala (27 km). According to K N Krishna Prasad of Karnataka Railway Vedike, all lines except the Lottegollahalli-Hosur stretch (via Hebbal and Banaswadi) are doubled and electrified, which makes it easy to introduce the suburban train services. Urban mobility analyst Sanjeev Dyamannavar, however, said more commuter trains on the two routes would be of little help unless the railways prioritised them over outbound services. “Besides conventional passenger trains, the city has three MEMU and DEMU trains each. It would be difficult for people to switch to commuter services unless the SWR increases their frequency,” he added.
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