Abandoned rail lines between R.C. Puram and Patancheru can be put to better use, say commuters
Unless you are looking for it, you are sure to miss it. Along the National Highway (NH) towards Mumbai and before touching Patancheru, is a single railway track.
The NH cuts the line into two, and following the path on the left takes us to buffalo sheds, dilapidated buildings, worn-out sleepers and other rail equipment being used for boundary walls and sundry things. That's Ramachandrapuram or R.C. Puram station for you.
Some distance away on the right side of NH and passing through a colony, you can notice the other side of the track covered in thick shrubbery. Buildings shorn of doors or windows, iron fences, wooden sleepers, smashed asbestos covers welcome one to another abandoned Patancheru station.
Till about 1995 or so, suburban services were running up to Patancheru – two in the morning and two in the evening with a level crossing on NH with a gate. “Services were discontinued as they were not popular,” say senior railway officials. Commuters have a different take.
“Railways got it all wrong. Instead of starting services from here to Secunderabad station in the morning and reverse in the evening, trains used to start from the station in the morning, defeating the very purpose of suburban travel,” says T. Satish Kumar of BHEL.
It's symptomatic of the manner in which South Central Railway (SCR) runs suburban services.
The line towards Patancheru was sanctioned by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as a token of gratitude for the people of Medak district who elected her in 1980.
The SCR, which is lobbying with the government for land to construct new passenger and freight terminals to cater to the expanding city, could well consider improving the disused lines as it offers a good alternative to the heavy road traffic on NH, feel many suburban commuters. And also when the metro rail works begin.
“MMTS trains can be extended up to R.C. Puram station because running them till Patancheru entails constructing a road overbridge or road underbridge on the National Highway,” reveal senior officials.
From the existing Lingampally station to R.C. Puram it is six kilometres and another two kilometres to Patancheru.
“SCR can run MMTS via Tellapur to R.C. Puram and return, spending Rs. 10 crore to improve the line. Commuters going to Patancheru can get down and use the road,” they point out. Incidentally, Tellapur-Patancheru route is part of the proposed phase two.