Monday, January 04, 2010

Will trains to city get on track?

Will trains to city get on track?
Bengaluru,


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Bengaluru could soon have local trains speeding between its suburbs, with the Centre proposing a transit system to link the outskirts of the city much like Mumbai's rail network connects the commercial capital's far flung localities. Specialised trains will run on existing track, complementing Namma Metro and decongesting the city's roads.
Flagging off the Yeshwanthpur-Howrah Duranto Express on Sunday, Union minister of state for railways K.H. Muniyappa said the project will begin to take shape from March under the state's Comprehensive Traffic and Transport System plan. It will link nearly 20 suburbs in the city.

The proposed circuits are: Kengeri-Jnanabharathi-Bapuji Nagar-NayandahalliBengaluru City-Malleswaram-Yeshwanthpur-Yelahanka-Hebbal-Chinnasandra-Banaswadi-Byapanahalli-KR Puram-WhitefieldMalur-Kolar; Bengaluru City-Cantonment-Bengaluru East-KR Puram-Anekal; and Bengaluru City-Arasikere-Yelahanka-TumkurGubbi. One of these circuits will be extended to Ramanagara.

"The initial circuits have been finalised and the project is being carried out in consultation with other departments," South Western Railway divisional manager Akhil Agrawal told Deccan Chronicle. Officials said the trains will be purchased by the state. "Talks are on between the railways and the state's infrastructure development department and the proposal is in its final stage," a railway official said. "We also plan to connect Chikkaballapur and Bengaluru which will help people commute to the airport via the existing network."



While connecting the city with its suburbs by local trains could be the key to unlocking the regular traffic gridlock in Bengaluru, the effectiveness of the service will depend on the infrastructure system in place, report Amit S. Upadhye and Akanksha Mehrotra Rail connectivity to the suburbs will be feasible only when infrastructure issues are resolved and IMTS will play a key role in making this project successful in the state. The service, once initiated, will facilitate a mass transport system, encouraging a large number of people to opt for suburban trains

: In a fast growing city like Bengaluru which is grappling with issues like traffic congestion and pollution, local trains seem to be ideal solution to travel to the suburbs.
But experts in the transport sector say plans to improve connectivity to the suburbs may backfire unless an inter-modal transport system (IMTS) is in place.

Rail connectivity to the suburbs will be feasible only when infrastructure issues are resolved and IMTS will play a key role in making this project successful in the state. The system, once initiated, will facilitate a mass transport system, encouraging a large number of people to opt for suburban trains. The state government had come out with a proposal in 2008 for an integrated public transport system, including the railways, similar to the service rendered to commuters in developed countries.

"There were discussions on having four inter-modal transit centres (IMTC) at the entry points of Bengaluru-Hosur Road, Bellary Road, Tumkur Road and Old Madras Road to decongest the city roads. There was also a proposal to come up with an IMTC matching global standards at Majestic," said Prakash Mandoth, co-chairman of FKCCI's tourism committee and exzonal railway users' consultative committee (ZRUCC) member.

"There is a need to have an IMTS in the city as well as on the outskirts. Bengaluru Metro Rail, BMTC and KSRTC will be connected to the IMTS from where the suburban train service will operate. People could get down at the IMTS and take a suburban train from there," Mr Mandoth said.

New railway stations are needed at places like Bapujinagar which will act as a transit point connecting the suburban trains. "In 2005, there was a proposal to have diesel-electric multiple units for local trains. This will be possible once electrification of the tracks is complete. Connecting the suburbs by local trains will provide an excellent network in terms of public transport only when the required infrastructure is in place. The trains will have 12 additional designated stops apart from the existing railway stations. New stations need to come up to facilitate better connectivity," added Mr Mandoth.

Experts also question the promptness of the railway authorities in ensuring that the trains maintain their schedule. "In case of a delay, long distance train traffic will be hit as the new facility is expected to operate on the existing railway tracks," said an expert.

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