Thursday, October 28, 2004

Rail link planned for still-born airport

Devanahalli Airport to have exclusive rail link
Vijay Times

Bangalore: The proposed Devanahalli International Airport will have its own exclusive rail head. Airport planners are proposing to link the airport to the City using existing rail lines from Cantonment Railway Station.
Officials say that only a minor extension of the existing rail line is necessary. Once the rail service becomes operational commuters can travel the 32 kms in around half an hour and the fare is expected to be on par with any other means of transport.

The entire project is being mooted by Infrastructure Development Corporation of Karnataka Ltd (iDeCK). It will evaluate the technical and financial feasibility of developing the Automatic Rail Link (ARL). The project is expected to cost in the region of Rs 585 crore, including cost of acquired land.

Speaking to Vijay Times, iDeCK officials said, “first we would like the international airport project to take off. Once it reaches a certain stage, then we will talk about this project. It doesn't need heavy lead time like that of an airport. However, we have proposed this idea so that it can be started on time. As of now, several parties have shown interest.”

According to Dr S Vasudevan, Senior Associate Transport, three alternatives are being considered for development of the rail link. Firstly, as an extension of the existing BG rail line between Yelahanka and Chikkaballapur, as a virgin alignment from Byappanahalli station on the existing BG line to the new airport site or as a virgin alignment from Bangalore Cantonment station along the road corridor via Jayamahal Road, Bellary Road and NH 7.
“After studying all the options carefully, it has been proposed that the most feasible alternative for development of the rail link would be to share the proposed commuter rail infrastructure from Bangalore Cantonment to Byappanahalli on the existing BG mainline corridor, beyond which the line could follow a virgin alignment upto the new airport site,” he said.

As per the plan, it has also been proposed that the main City end terminal for the rail link facility would be set up adjacent to Cantonment Railway Station, which would provide easy access to the City centre and adjoining areas.
“Today, the rates will look expensive. But, with the proposed introduction of commuter rail system for Bangalore the cost could come down, since the physical infrastructure could be shared with the CRS on the common portion of the proposed ARL alignment.

The land acquisition is also not a problem as it would be done by BMRDA. Our immediate task is to prepare a detailed project report,” he added.


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