There is good news for the residents of the city. Yes, we are talking about the new suburban trains in Bangalore. The capital city of Karnataka has finally gone one step ahead in its efforts of establishing a suburban railway system that will ultimately connect all parts of the city.
With the new suburban trains beginning to operate within the city, Bengaluru now boasts of MEMU (Mainline Multiple Electric Unit) trains with a carrying capacity of 2,400 passengers and a speed that is far better than the Diesel Multiple Electric Unit trains.
Suburban Trains in Bangalore -New Era of Connectivity Dawns
A recent report named Bengaluru as the city with the worst traffic in the world. Drivers typically spend 71% extra time in traffic jams. The upcoming suburban rail project could ease these commuter woes.
The suburban rail system will cover a network length of 148km along 4 corridors. These are the KSR Bengaluru City and Devanahalli route; Chikkabanavara, Yeswanthpura, and Baiyappanahalli route; Heelalige – Yelahanka – Rajanakunte route; and Kengeri – KSR Bengaluru – Electronics City route.
Suburban Trains in Bengaluru – What Does It Mean for the Residents
The new suburban trains in Bengaluru are a boon for anyone who needs to commute between the city and the Whitefield area. For long the flourishing IT sector of the city has expressed its demand for better connectivity between the city and Whitefield.
These new trains fulfill this long-standing demand. Though much remains to be achieved in this regard, at least there is some progress that is taking place.
Suburban Trains in Bengaluru – Project Costs
The suburban rail project has been a pipe dream for long but according to Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, it will be completed within the next 3 years. It will link Bengaluru to several areas like Mandya, Tumkur, Bangarpet, and Bangalore Airport. The new MEMU trains run on electricity. As such, they will help the railway board to cut down on the operational costs.
The cost of the project is estimated at Rs 18,600 crore. 20% of this cost will be paid by the center, 20% by the state and the remaining by institutional loans.
The Bengaluru Suburban railway will have 57 stations across Bengaluru and trains that run from 5 am to midnight. The Baiyappanahalli station will be an intersection point between the metro and trains to the airport.
Channasandra will be another convenient station to shift to an airport-bound train. The BIAL proposes to run a shuttle bus service between the halt station enroute to Devanahalli and airport terminals.
The SWR has also proposed electrifying the route from Yelahanka Jn to Devanahalli. Once this line is electrified, the MEMU trains terminating at Yeswanthpura may be extended up to Devahanalli.
- Ramanagara to Kengeri (32.0 km)
- Baiyyapanahalli to Hosur (41.0 km)
- Tumkur to Yeswanthpur (64.0 km)
- Yelahanka to Doddaballapura (24.0 km)
Advantage of the New Suburban Trains in Bengaluru
The most obvious advantage of these new trains is that they stand to improve connectivity and make commuting easier for the people travelling between the city and Whitefield.
With traffic jams becoming a menace in Bengaluru, the call of the hour is to have more suburban trains that connect various parts of the city through a smooth and fast network. For the common people, this will be definitely a big advantage. Let’s hope that these new trains are the beginning of such an era in Bengaluru.
Bengaluru Rail Project vs Other Cities
Demographics has been a key point of consideration while designing the suburban rail network. While a large section of the population that travels by this system in cities like Mumbai and Chennai is labor-intensive, the Bengaluru commuters will largely be associated with the IT sector, biotech, creative industries and outsourcing.
This is one of the reasons why all the coaches of local trains in the Bengaluru rail project will have be air-conditioned. Unlike the Mumbai local trains, there will not be a 1t class and 2nd class coach differentiation. Thus, the cost of running and maintaining these trains will be higher.
As a result, the minimum ticket fare on these trains will be slightly higher than that in Mumbai and Chennai. Currently, the minimum ticket price on the Mumbai and Chennai suburban train is Rs 5 for a distance up to 10km.
The minimum fare on the Bengaluru suburban train is projected to be around Rs 10. This is expected to help the rail project run sustainably. The Indian Railways has been consciously kept out of this loop as cheap fares have proved to cause losses.
Precursor To The Bengaluru Suburban Train Network – Daily Ridership Data
Over 1.5 lakh passengers have taken to traveling by the South Western Railway’s intra-city trains in 2017-18. This marks an increase from the 1.4 lakh passengers that used the train network in 2016-17.
The daily ridership figures have increased in certain sectors like Salem, Dharmavaram, Mysuru, Jolarpettai and Kolar.
|Section||Daily Ridership |
Source -South Western Railway
These figures show that there is a growing need for a full-fledged suburban rail system in the city. One of the reasons the existing suburban services have been gaining popularity is to avoid traffic jams.
However, these trains typically operate during non-peak hours and have poor frequency. Since the timing is not synced with office hours, the call for a full-fledged suburban train service has been growing louder day by day.