Thursday, February 24, 2005

Monorail: Route to jam-free B’lore, says Metrail

Monorail: Route to jam-free B’lore, says Metrail
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: For all those Bangaloreans who have resigned to live with the traffic snarls and pothole stretches, monorail rings in a future without clutter.

Metrail India Private Limited, the Indian face of the Switzerland-based Metrail AG has proposed a hybrid monorail system above ground level to ease traffic congestion on Bangalore roads. The project report that has been approved by the Cabinet is now under scrutiny of a High Power Committee. Proposed to integrate with the metro rail network, monorail is a vision that has worked to great effect abroad, with Japan being the leader.

‘‘Monorail’s integration with metro will ensure that more of Bangalore is covered under the network. Since it is above ground level, there will be minimal traffic disruption, land acquisition and demolitions. Further, with a 24-month start-to-finish implementation and virtually no investment from the State Government, this is one system which could make a lot of difference to Bangalore’s traffic problems,’’ says Rehan Khan, director, Metrail India.

Metrail has budgeted the system at around Rs. 40 crore a kilometre. With a proposed headway (gap between trains) of less than two minutes, the trains will have independent battery-run compartments. The system doesn’t need grid power and has a pollution-free record.

But the real edge is the connectivity it can provide. ‘‘With a turning curve radius of a mere 20 metres, monorail can wade into Bangalore’s farthest nooks and corners. Further, connectivity with Electronics City and ITPL will be ensured by the network.

“And in more than 100 years of monorail operations (the first one was launched in 1901 at Wuppertal, Germany), there have been no fatalities,’’ says Khan adding that the State Government has shown genuine interest in the proposal.

According to Khan, since the build-up system requires small foundations by offsite fabrication of precast columns, beams and station structures, traffic disruption during the implementation would be minimal. The rates proposed by Metrail are compatible with existing tariff.

Up to two kilometres, the rate will be Rs. 4 and beyond 22 km, it will be Rs. 18. At three tonnes per fibreglass carriage, monorail is certainly light when pitted against the 45-tonne steel variety. The flexibility is a definite plus as well. ‘‘Since it runs on independent carriages, we have the option of cutting down their number during non-peak hours,’’ reasons Khan.

He insists that integration with metro rail is the company’s immediate concern but doesn’t mince words when it comes to the concept of metro rail systems in the Indian context. ‘‘In a city like Hong Kong, it works fine because people collectively move to and from townships to business hubs. That’s predictable traffic. In India, it doesn’t work that way. Further, if the Indian Railways insist on a 200-metre turning curve radius like they did in Delhi, you can imagine how a city like Bangalore would take it.’’

Khan is still keeping his fingers crossed on the proposal, which is of a two-phase implementation to be run on Build Operate Transfer . The jazzed up vision of fibre glass carriages and sleek rail stations above ground is still a tad departed from space-strapped Bangalore. But Khan believes in the route. That’s one for the future.


Post a Comment

<< Home