A feeder to Namma Metro Bengaluru to have Suburban Rail

The estimated cost of the suburban railway network is Rs 23,093 crore.

With traffic continuing to choke Bengaluru’s roads, the state cabinet’s okay for four corridors of the ambitious suburban rail for the city has come as a huge relief to its people, especially its techies.

The Detailed Project Report (DPR), inclusive of a feasibility study for 2041, was approved with minor changes to the routes involved that were discussed at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy last week.

The four corridors in question will have 81 stations spread over a distance of 160.50 kms. The suburban rail will serve the city for six days a week, except on Sundays. The train from KSR Bengaluru to Baiyappanahalli will cover the distance in 25 minutes, which is even lesser than the time taken by the Metro between the two stations, mainly due to the number of halts enroute.

The estimated cost of the four-corridor suburban railway network is pegged at Rs 23,093 crore. The Centre and Karnataka are expected to foot Rs 3,532.5 crores each or 40 per cent of the cost and Rs 10,598 crore or 60 per cent of the cost will be raised via loans, taking the total expenditure involved to Rs 17,663 crore. GST and customs tax of Rs 1,488 crores, land resettlement cost of Rs 2,180 crore, state GST of Rs 1,288 crore and Interest during Construction (IDC) of Rs 474 crore have been added to the project cost. While the railways claims the project will start in a few days and be completed well within the deadline, Bengalureans remain sceptical, pointing out that a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) has still to be formed for implementing it. “It should be taken up in a time-bound manner and speedily executed to act as a feeder to the Metro Rail and benefit thousands of commuters,” underline several city residents, looking forward to the new facility which could make travelling in it a lot quicker and easier. “Hopefully both the Union and state governments will complete the project at the earliest for the sake of the travelling public,” says Ms Rakshith N., a regular commuter on trains.

New trains should be properly scheduled

Suburban train services made a small beginning in Bengaluru after Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu flagged off the first train between Byappanahalli and Whitefield in 2017. The train has cut the travel time of thousands of IT professionals heading to their workplaces in the Whitefield-Mahadevapura belt via Old Madras Road.

While in the past they were held up in heavy traffic for an hour or more, now it takes them all of 25 minutes to reach their destinations.

People are eagerly looking forward to a similar experience over other routes too once the suburban rail is extended over 160.50 km. “Earlier I took the Metro to Byappanahalli and then a shared cab or a BMTC bus to ITPL. It took me an hour by cab to reach Hoodie from the Byappanahalli Metro station and even longer by bus. But after the suburban train was introduced in 2017, I am able to get there in 20 minutes,” says Arpitha, a regular commuter to ITPL. She , however, hopes the new suburban trains will be properly scheduled to serve people optimally.

“Now that the suburban train has received the green signal to cover a bigger distance, one hopes it will help a lot more people, especially those working in the IT corridors. Extending it to Ramanagara and Tumakuru could be good idea too,” adds Arpitha.

Experts recall that the previous plan was to connect Bengaluru via the suburban rail to places like Tumakuru, Chickballapura and Mandya that are 60 to 70 Kms away from the city to help the large number of people who commute on these routes every day. But now the route has been cut at Kengeri on the Mysore line, at Chikkabanavara on the Tumakuru line and at Heelalige on the House line. Even so, with the delay in implementation of Metro phase 2, the suburban rail services using existing infrastructure and an automatic signalling system are bound to help city commuters, however limited they may be, say transport experts.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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