New trains bring hopes of faster commute in Bengaluru

SUBURBAN RAIL FOR BENGALURU

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With increased burden on roads, Bengaluru needs suburban trains to decongest the city. Pic: Shree D N

After many promises of suburban rail system for Bengaluru, the central government has finally introduced two new routes for suburban rails within Bengaluru and has introduced eight new trains to travel in these routes.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal made the formal announcement on March 9, 2018. Close on the heels of this, the new trains were introduced on March 12th.

Out of the eight trains, four are running between Hosur and Banaswadi, and two each on Byappanahalli-Whitefield and Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna (Majestic)-Byappanahalli routes. This has been considered as a relief to workers in the technology sector, and will be on the rails for six days a week, except during Sundays.

Timings of the new trains

Train route

Train route

Time of departure

Last stop

06567

Whitefield – Baiyappanahalli

9 am

9.20 am

06568

Baiyappanahalli – Whitefield

16.45 pm

17.05 pm

06579

Baiyappanahalli – KSR Bengaluru

18.45 pm

19.15 pm

06570

KSR Bengaluru – Baiyappanahalli

7.50 am

8.15 am

06571

Banasawadi – Hosur passenger

9.15 am

11 am

06572

Hosur – Banasawadi passenger

11.15 am

12.25 pm

06573

Banasawadi – Hosur passenger

12.40 pm

13.45 pm

06574

Hosur – Banasawadi passenger

15.20 pm

16.40 pm

Also read>> Full list of trains operating from or passing through Bengaluru.

The South Western Railways had said that 2,400 passengers in eight coaches can be accommodated in the Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) services.

Four of the new services connect the Baiyappanahalli metro station to the technology suburbs of Bellandur and Electronic City. The MEMU connecting Whitefield and Baiyappanahalli covers K.R. Puram and Hoodi, and reaches the destination in just 20 minutes, which beats the tedious one-hour road journey big time.

The train from KSR Bengaluru to Baiyappanahalli covers the distance in sharp 25 minutes, which is less compared to the time taken to travel between the same stations using Metro train, mainly due to the number of halts in between.

Commuters are excited about the new trains. The citizen groups that campaigned for suburban rail in Bengaluru see this as a small victory and an incremental step towards the larger goal. The groups campaigning for better railways system are many: Prajaa- RAAG, Whitefield Rising, Trainspotter – a train commuter group that has 4600+ members, various other citizen groups. The civic activism seems to have paid off, by garnering the attention of the powers.

With the sudden growth of the primary IT hub in the past decade, especially in Whitefield, Marathahalli, Varthur, Bellandur, Panathur, Balagere and Sarjapur in the Outer Ring Road (ORR), suburban rail links will play a great role in easing congestion.

Suburban rail network – 20 years in the making

The question remains on the bigger suburban rail network which the city transport needs. The Suburban Rail network is still on paper, though the state and central governments keep the issue in news by bringing it in budget presentations.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah approved Suburban Railway for Bengaluru, in the 2013-14 state budget that he presented on July 9, 2013, and proposed the setting up of the Bangalore Suburban Rail Corporation Limited, a special purpose vehicle to implement the project. This would also design various means to raise resources from sources other than the state and central government. He also allocated a budget of Rs 100 crores for this purpose.

On January 31 2018, the State Cabinet cleared the preliminary equity of Rs 349 crore, which worked out to 20%, at Rs 1,745 crore. Law and Parliamentary Affairs minister TB Jayachandra had conveyed to the press after a Cabinet meeting that a matching amount would be paid to railways in the financial year, 2018-19.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley too added suburban rail for Bengaluru in his budget speech, estimating a cost of ₹17,000 crore for it. This, he said, is “to cater to the growth of the Bengaluru metropolis”.

There was a tug of war between the State and the Central government, on the ratio of expenses to be shared. Final details are expected to b shared in the Railways Pink Book soon.

Citizens happy with new train announcements

This has been a big step forward, according to Sanjeev Dyamannavar, a vocal supporter of commuter rail. “Now, we can hope that the State and Railways will meet to thrash out the land hurdles for the execution of the project,” he tells The Hindu.

Krishnaprasad S. from Karnataka Railway Vedike adds that earlier references to the rail system had been “vague”, but for the first time, the reference is more specific. “We are hopeful that this year being an election year, things will progress more rapidly. It is a good start,” he said.

However, Srinivas Alavalli, an organiser of the #ChukuBukuBeku campaign is more “cautiously optimistic”. We cannot pitch hopes too high, but should only keep applying pressure, he explains.

Introduction of new lines closer to election could well be the trick to attract voters in the capital of the poll-bound state, but the benefits of extra rail trips can never be discounted. While trains do not carry a magic wand to ease all congestion problems in cities, they do bring in hope and optimism to a better connected and healthier city.

About Revathi Siva Kumar 22 Articles
Revathi Siva Kumar is a freelance writer based in Bengaluru.

5 Comments

  1. Need more trains from Hebbal-Carmelarm in evening at 5:30
    Currently, the existing train are starting early at 4:30

  2. Article says Metro Takes Longer Time. Actually it is less, 21 minutes sharp. I am a regular commuter of Purple line End to End. Planning is not in the right direction, trains are needed in the morning from SBC or preferrably Kengeri to Whitefield or Byappanahalli to Whitefield , but it is in the opposite direction. Similarly in the return direction in the evening.

    Best would be to run dedicated one train between Byappanahalli to Whitefield to and fro in all the available slots. Similarly Yeshwantpur to Hosur or even Byappanahalli to Hosur to and fro.

  3. Need more trains from WhiteField – Bypanahalli in evening & with some punctuality.
    Currently the existing train Arrakonam -KSR 56261 & WFD -BYP 06593 are running late almost every day (30-45 mins average delay).

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