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News Entry# 288802
Dec 16 2016 (10:56)  Infra lacking, suburban rail still a distant dream (
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SWR/South Western  -  

News Entry# 288802     
   Past Edits
Dec 16 2016 (10:56AM)
Station Tag: KSR Bengaluru City Junction (Bangalore)/SBC added by Hareesh Mangalam*^~/73888
Track-Doubling, Electrification Work Still Not Over | Railways Yet To OK Cost Sharing For Replacing DEMU Rakes | KSR Bengaluru Stn Short Of Space
City development minister KJ George meeting the key stakeholders, including MPs from Bengaluru, of the suburban rail project last Monday to discuss proposals by the Railways is definitely a move forward, the project is a distant dream with railway officials saying that the basic rail infrastructure around the city is still not in place.
The first proposal, estimated to cost Rs 360 crore, discussed in last Monday's meeting involves
conversion of 15 pairs of conventional diesel electric multiple unit (DEMU) rakes to mainline electrical multiple unit (MEMU) cars with 12 rakes for the Mandya, Bangarpet, and Gowribidanur sections. This is part of the first phase of the suburban rail project.
While the state government is shifting its focus on suburban rail project as a mass transit system other than Metro, there are still a number of hurdles for Bengaluru to go the Mumbai way . South Western Railway officials say that the basic rail infrastructure around Bengaluru is not yet ready for a suburban rail system. “Almost half of the tracks towards Hosur and Chikkaballapur are yet to be doubled and electrified. Some sections of Tumakuru rail corridor is waiting to be electrified,“ said Sanjiv Kumar Agarwal, DRM, Bengaluru division of SWR.
“We should not call this suburban rail. It is a long distance passenger train.Local trains, like those in Mumbai, Kolkata or Chennai, run around the city and its suburbs in short intervals and the journey takes about an hour. We have proposed to replace the existing rakes to MEMU because it is faster and the carrying capacity is 1.5 times more than DEMU rakes,“ said Agarwal. The project will be a joint venture between Railways and the state. Railways, how ever is yet to approve sharing half of the cost to be incurred in replacing the DEMU rakes, said state government officials who attended the meeting. In February this year, rail minister Suresh Prabhu had announced that Railways will enter into joint ventures with states and undertake suburban railway projects as Special Purpose Vehicles. The ministry , however, has only framed the draft policy and committed itself to only 20% of the financial burden of implementing the projects in different cities.When asked, Mahendra Jain, addition al chief secretary, urban development department said, “The draft policy was shared with the state government in the meeting on Monday . What I could figure out was that the state will have to bear 20% of the project cost and take loans for the remaining 60%. We have to consider our options and send our replies.The final policy still has some time to come into effect. So, we wanted to do something to aid mass transit. As part of our plans, we wanted to deploy MEMU rakes that are faster.“ The SWR and the state government officials, how ever, said the frequency of the train will be less, unlike suburban trains.
Another big challenge for Railways is to augment services at KSR Bengaluru city) railway station. The station, according to Railways, does not have enough space to accommodate local trains as it already handles 130 pairs of trains every day . The coaching terminal at Byappanahalli, to cost Rs 125 crore, is yet to take off. The project, to be entirely executed by the ministry , will enable Byappanahalli to handle 15 trains.
Lakhs of techies, corporates and industrial workers of Whitefield and Kadugodi industrial area will soon be able to travel to work from Byappanahalli in just 10 minutes. South Western Railway and the state government have approved running of two pairs of local trains between Byappanahalli and Whitefield during morning and evening peak hours. This service will connect to Byappanahalli Metro station, which will act as an interchange for train and Metro commuters.
Mahesh Madevappa, a resident of Kengeri, takes a local to ITPL every day .“The train is the best mode to reach office. Although it takes a good one hour to reach, but it is comfortable and cheap. I try not to miss the train as its frequency is very low. We need a suburban rail service as it will have more trains every day . It will help daily wage workers and housekeeping staff working at various I-T firms.“
The railways is also considering introducing new services after the rake conversion and a commuter train service from Jnana Bharati and Nayandahalli to Ramanagaram. Besides, integration of the yard at Jnana Bharati and Nayandahalli with Namma Metro services has also been agreed in principle.
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