Minister of State for Railways K.H. Muniyappa on Sunday said the Ministry will consider the proposal to provide circular railway for Bangalore City and a survey will be conducted shortly for the purpose.
He was responding to Bangalore South Lok Sabha Member H.N. Ananth Kumar’s fervent plea to introduce circular railway system for the city, which has grown in multiples over the years, after launching the Duranto Express (Weekly) between Yeshwanthpur – Howrah here.
"We are aware that passenger circular railway is highly essential for Bangalore given the present situation. We are at it," the Minister said. As a first step, Mr. Muniyappa said he has announced operation of passenger trains between Yeshwanthpur – Anekal and Yeshwanthpur – Devanahalli by March this year.
Mr. Ananth Kumar said Bangalore’s population has almost reached one crore and the circular railway system is absolutely essential to compliment the bus and the metro services. Adequate railway network across the City and nodes at Kengeri, Krishnarajapura, Yelahanka and Yeshwanthpur have already been developed. Lines have been electrified and at some stretches, lines need to be doubled, Mr. Kumar told the Minister.
The State Government had earlier commissioned a survey through RITES for the circular railway and on its basis, the South Western Railway could plan operation of passenger trains with stops at every two km, the MP said.
On traffic integration at Yeshwanthpur, Mr. Kumar said the S.M. Krishna government had proposed to construct a bus station near Yeshwanthpur Railway Station when he was the Union Urban Development Minister. "Things did not proceed further at that point of time. However, at this point of time, he can request Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa to consider the proposal afresh if the Railways agrees for the same," Mr. Kumar told Mr. Muniyappa.
The Minister also said that the Ministry will upgrade the technology to prevent recurrence of accidents resulting in loss of life and property.
Responding to queries by reporters on the series of accidents that claimed over 10 lives in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, Mr. Muniyappa said the Railways always regarded human life as valuable and has been taking all steps to ensure safety.
Saturday’s accident prima facie appears to be due to thick fog, but details will be known only after a regular inquiry, he said.
Mr. Muniyappa said the non-stop Duranto Express will cover the distance of 1946 km in 29 hours instead of the regular 36 hours taken by existing services. Unlike superfast Rajdhani Express trains, which have all air-conditioned coaches the Duranto Express trains also have regular three-tier sleeper coaches enabling the common man to travel fast.
He said Duranto coaches are provided with micro-controller based roof mounted package unit with compact control panel. Air-conditioned coaches have special feature of humidity control mechanism. Apart from safety and hygiene features like fire extinguishers and dustbins, coaches have sleeker designs for bottle holders and switches, mobile charging points, sliding transparent doors between coaches and LED night lamps instead of regular fluorescent lights.
While the cost of bed roll is included in the ticket fare of air-conditioned coaches, passengers in sleeper class can avail this facility by paying Rs. 25 while booking the ticket. The fare between Yeshwanthpur and Howrah on 1st AC is Rs. 4,045, 2nd AC Rs. 2,515, 3rd AC Rs. 1,930 and sleeper class Rs. 755.
Train No. 2246 leaves Yeshwanthpur on Sundays at 11.15 am to reach Howrah at 4 pm on Mondays. On return direction, Train No. 2245 leaves Howrah on Fridays at 11 am and arrives at Yeshwanthpur at 4 pm on Saturdays. It has one 1st AC coach, one two-tier AC coach, three 3-tier AC coaches, eight 3-tier sleeper coaches, two second class-cum-luggage vans and one pantry car. The inaugural service was fully occupied except one berth on 1st AC coach, said Railway officials.