Namma Metro could have a run for its money

Updated - June 25, 2011 04:09 pm IST

Published - June 25, 2011 09:37 am IST - BANGALORE:

Operation of commuter rail on the existing rail network surrounding Bangalore, a long-pending demand, could become a reality soon with the State Government agreeing to fund the acquisition of rail rakes by the Railways.

Congested roads

It has been the demand of commuters, government and non-governmental agencies, trade associations and web communities to run diesel multiple units (DMU) or electrical multiple units (EMU) on the existing rail network to beat the traffic gridlocks on Bangalore's congested roads.

Though the Railways initially did not evince much interest, it later came forward to operate these services if the State Government funds acquisition of DMU/EMU rakes.

Sudhanshu Mani, Divisional Railway Manager, South Western Railway's (SWR) Bangalore Division, told The Hindu though a majority of the lines around Bangalore have already reached saturation stage, the SWR is open to operating commuter rail services if the State Government provides rakes.

The Government, which earlier was keen on having a comprehensive suburban rail system that required an investment of about Rs. 10,000 crore (for acquisition of land and constructing of new lines) under public-private partnership, has now decided to make a beginning by operating commuter rail on the existing track.


Raj Kumar Khatri, Secretary to Government, Infrastructure Development Department, told The Hindu that the Government has conveyed to the SWR that it was willing to fund acquisition of rakes. “Funds are not a constraint to operate commuter rail in Bangalore as we have to make a beginning,” he said.

He said at a recent meeting convened by the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT), the SWR too has agreed to operate commuter rail within two months after the government indicates the routes and provides the funds.

DULT Commissioner V. Manjula said RITES, a Government of India multidisciplinary consultation agency, has been asked to submit a report on the routes feasible to operate commuter rail on the existing tracks. “We are expecting the report shortly after which the same will be conveyed to the SWR,” she said. The SWR in turn will indicate the requirement of number of rakes depending upon the frequency of operation, she added.


During the meeting convened by DULT, the SWR representative agreed to consider operation of commuter rail on six routes and also to examine another route proposed by an NGO, Praja, to operate services between Bangarpet and Kengeri by extending the existing Bangarpet-Bangalore City service.

Detailed project report

A DPR is yet to be commissioned for the comprehensive suburban rail system for Bangalore. Ms. Manjula said that before commissioning the DPR, the directorate would have to examine two studies conducted earlier. Thereafter, the fresh DPR could suggest improvements/modifications over the earlier reports.

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