The main station lacks proper infrastructure
Bangaloreans’ hopes for better railway facilities, in terms of new trains — suburban as well as long distance — and upgrading of railway infrastructure were belied by the latest Railway Budget.
With more than 2.2 lakh people travelling by trains to and from Bangalore daily and many more willing to travel by rail if more berths and trains are available, residents hoped for a better deal from the Union government.
All long-distance trains, particularly those bound for Gujarat, Rajasthan, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam, run full with long waitlists.
With no immediate signs of Byappanahalli turning into the third coaching terminal after the saturated city and Yeshwantpur terminals, any hope of introduction of new trains has receded further.
Though the Bangalore region has enough railway networks, it is not utilised to offer local connectivity that could have greatly reduced the burden on the city’s roads.
A commuter rail system for the city — in demand for over two decades — too appears to have become a pipe dream with both the State government and the Railway Ministry not arriving at any decision.
While Yeshwantpur Railway Station, the second terminal handling an average 44 pairs of trains a day, doing a decent job, it is the city station, handling at least 88 pairs of trains a day, which is in need of an overhaul.
K.N. Krishna Prasad, a retired government official, said the look and facilities of this central station don’t match the status of Bangalore as India’s Silicon Valley. Citing examples, he points to the inconsistent lengths of its platforms, absence of easy access to them, improper functioning of coach indicator displays and the abnormal delay in completing the Okalipuram entry building.
Ready for more
A.K. Agarwal, Divisional Railway Manager, of South Western Railway’s Bangalore Division, told The Hindu that stations in Bangalore are capable of handling 10 more pairs of new trains as two pit lines are ready in Byappanahalli.
Operation of either suburban trains or commuter rail appears difficult because there are fewer tracks, platforms and funds, he said.
Mr. Agarwal said that funds crunch has affected speedy completion of the new booking office on the Okalipuram side.
He hoped that it would be completed by July. He said the city station would get an executive waiting lounge as announced in the Railway Budget and escalators.
It will also get a bus bay, according to Senior Divisional Commercial Manager N. Ramesh, who said the Byappanahalli Station is being upgraded with two reservation counters, platform shelters, pay-and-use toilets and pit lines for train maintenance.