BENGALURU: The city is all set to get 8 new suburban rail services in addition to more than 18 other services which are already operational, South Western Railway officials said on Thursday. These new services, all short distance trips, will be between Baiyappanahalli and Whitefield, Baiyappanahalli and Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna (KSR) Station, Hosur and Banaswadi through Heelahalige. This was announced during a visit by Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal to the Bengaluru division on Thursday.
Goyal also reviewed the physical survey work being carried out by the railways in order to prepare a detailed feasibility report for the Bengaluru Suburban Rail project. “The report will contain details of traffic projections, rate of return as well as a detailed map and alignment. We expect a total of 6 months for it to be ready,” said A K Gupta, General Manager, SWR.
Speaking on the issue of cost-sharing for the project, Goyal said the Union government had proposed a 50:50 cost-sharing ration, provided the state government gave a nod for providing a Floor Area Ratio (ratio of a building’s total floor area to the size of the piece of land upon which it is built) of 5 for railway stations. “We are yet to hear from Karnataka,” he said. Interestingly, the minister said he was open to considering operation of air-conditioned services once the suburban rail project was inaugurated.
Goyal also inaugurated a 10-tonne capacity mechanised laundry set up at the KSR station which would cater to all passengers boarding trains starting from KSR station and Yesvantpur railway station. The entire SWR division would be electrified in the next 5 years, Goyal said.Phase 1 of the Baiyappanahalli coaching terminal, which is expected to ease the congestion at the KSR station, will be ready by the end of 2018, Gupta said on Thursday.
Thalaserry-Mysuru line not proposed by railways
Goyal said that the Thalassery-Mysuru railways line, which has generated much opposition in Karnataka, was originally proposed by Kerala and that Indian Railways did not suggest it unilaterally. “We have told the Government of Kerala that a feasibility study can be done only if the Government of Karnataka agrees. The Indian Railways is not interested in pursuing the project without the consent of both states. I have met delegations from Karnataka who have pointed out the ecological damage. We would not like to be responsible for it,” he said.