Wait for city commuter rail gets longer

Inspection of B’luru-Ramanagaram line to take more time: SWR official

Published: 16th July 2016 06:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th July 2016 06:10 AM   |  A+A-

BENGALURU: Commuters who were hoping for a smooth train ride between Bengaluru and Ramanagaram will have to wait longer as the introduction of the Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) trains, promised in the 2014-15 Railway budget, will be delayed.

Wait.jpgCommissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) in charge of Southern Division S Naik, who had come down from Kolkata to inspect the Yelahanka-Dharmavaram line electrification, will be returning without inspecting the Ramanagaram line. This has disappointed many who were hoping to see the line functional soon.  Railway officials cited technical issues for the delay in clearance of the line.

Krishna from Praja RAAG, an advocacy group, says, “Clearance for the line has been delayed several times. There were power lines overlapping the electric tracks. However, the Railway Board cleared it on the condition of a CRS inspection.

“Currently, we have an acting CRS. The last time when we contacted the railways, they said the inspection was delayed as the then CRS, S K Mittal, had retired. But now we have one. So, if they are ready, he could have inspected and cleared this stretch as well. The introduction of MEMU trains will be a blessing as they are faster.” When contacted, a South Western Railway (SWR) official told Express, “Ninety per cent of the issue of power lines overlapping the electric tracks has been resolved and the rest will be resolved soon. Then we will call the CRS for inspection.”

Experts believe the advent of commuter rail, when Metro has years to go before it becomes full-fledged, can be a major mode of transport to take pressure off city roads. It can allow Bengalureans to commute in ease to not-too distant destinations like Whitefield, Tumakuru and Ramanagaram, with stopovers at suburbs like Yelahanka and Kengeri, they say.

While existing tracks can be used for the commuter rail project, its supporters say 58 per cent of the total investment will go towards upgrading railway infrastructure and for doubling tracks, which, in turn, will help the Indian Railways run more intercity and goods trains.


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