Stakeholders have sought a direct rail link between Mysore and Hampi to boost tourism in south and central Karnataka region.

According to them, the rail link via major commercial centres such as Arsikere (in Hassan district) and Bellary would also give an impetus to trade in the region.

This has been taken up by members of the Mysore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Karnataka State Railway Action Committee and the Bellary Railway Action Committee, who have submitted a memorandum addressed to Minister for Railways Dinesh Trivedi, Minister of State for Railways K.M. Muniyappa, and senior Railway officials in this regard. The MCCI representatives met here on Tuesday and discussed the imperatives of a direct rail link as a precursor to improving trade and tourism in the region. The MCCI pointed out that both Mysore and Hampi were world-renowned tourist places, and yet there was no direct train service between the two places, putting tourists to great inconvenience.

The only way for tourists and people to commute from Hampi from Mysore was via Bangalore (Hampi Express). The MCCI said the new train between Mysore and Hampi could operate via Hassan and Bellary, which would also provide connectivity to other important towns en route such as Arsikere, Chickjajur and Rayadurga.

Another benefit of introducing such a train was direct connectivity to Hassan, which was the base for Belur-Halebid and Shravanabelagola, both major tourist destinations. Also, the rock fort in Chitradurga could also be developed as a tourist spot.

The memorandum pointed out that a broad-gauge line of 190 km was laid between Bellary-Rayadurga and Chitradurga-Chikjajur about 10 years ago. But the authorities were operating only two passenger trains, which highlights the negligence of the Railways in developing the backward regions of the State. The stakeholders urged the Minister to introduce a daily night service connecting Hampi and Mysore via Bellary-Rayadurga-Chitradurga-Chikjajur-Arsikere and Hassan. It also called for simultaneous departure of another rake of the same train from Mysore to Hampi with AC and sleeper coaches for the benefit of domestic and international tourists as well as local residents.

It was pointed out that the demand for a train service along the suggested route was made several times in the past, but to no avail.