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Bengaluru Sub-Urban Rail Project: A new era of Advance Transport System – Metro Rail News

The Finance Ministry stated that the central government would provide 20% of the equity and facilitate external assistance for up to 60 percent of the project cost.
Bengaluru Commuter Rail is an under-construction suburban rail network for the city of Bangalore. A Commuter Rail system for the city was first proposed in 1983. Since then, several different route proposals were made but no Commuter Rail project took shape. It was finally approved in the 2019 Railway Budget. On 1 February 2020, finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman mentioned in her budget that the project would be implemented at a cost of Rs 18,600 crores.
The Finance Ministry stated that the central government would provide 20% of the equity and facilitate external assistance for up to 60 percent of the project cost. It will be the first of its kind and unique in India as it will have metro-like facilities and rolling stock. It has the slowest design speed among all the new commuter rail projects currently being implemented in India as Nagpur broad-gauge Metro and National Capital Region Transport Corporation are building rail tracks for a design speed of 200 km/h with an operating speed of 160 km/h. The commuter rail along with Hyperloop, High-speed Airport trains, Intercity trains, Metro rail, Metro Neo, and Metrolite will provide rail based public transport to Bengaluru’s general public.
Current operation by Indian Railways
Indian Railway’s southwest railway zone operates several suburban train services from Bengaluru to Hosur, Jolarpettai, Tumakuru, Marikuppam, Bangarpet, Hindupur, Mysuru, and Hassan. Hosur and Jolarpettai are across the border in Tamil Nadu and Hindupur is in Andhra Pradesh, while Tumakuru, Bangarpet, Mysuru, and Hassan are in Karnataka.
Service to and from Hassan, Hindupur, Hosur, and Tumakuru will operate from Yesvantpur station in the city’s northern suburb, while service to Marikuppan, Bangarpet, and Jolarpettai will be to and from Bengaluru’s main city station. The zonal railway has been operating daily suburban service between Bengaluru and Mysuru. Diesel Electrical Multiple Unit (DEMU) and Mainline Electrical Unit (MEMU) cars will be used for the services on the suburban routes.
Integrated intermodal and public transport experience with last mile connectivity
Comprehensive Mobility Plan for Bengaluru provides a roadmap for an integrated public transport experience. Bengaluru Suburban Rail stations will be integrated with other modes of transport for seamless transfer between travel modes – as in European cities. Public Bus Service, Metro trains, Inter-city bus, Inter-city trains, Metrolite, Metro Neo, Hyperloop, BRTS, Peripheral Ring Road, Bus priority corridors, Airport metro, Airport Bus service, High-speed Airport Train, will be integrated with the Suburban train network.
Public Bicycle Sharing (PBS) and the Shared Micro-Mobility System initiatives have been launched to provide last-mile connectivity to suburban rail stations. K-RIDE plans to evolve all 57 stations into integrated commercial hubs (smart station hubs) where people can work, park, shop, eat, and trade. Approaches to suburban train stations will be provided from all directions.
Project Details
DPR for the project has included many rare and unique features in System.
Routes
Route-1: Sampige Line
Route-2: Mallige Line
Route-3: Parijaata Line
Route-4: Kanaka Line
Depots
Two depots have been planned. Jnanabharathi depot would be spread over 56.9 acres and Devanahalli depot would be on 61.2 acres. However, these are not on priority routes 2 and 4. Hence, the feasibility of a depot at Huskuru along Kanaka Line is being explored besides other options.
Route Proposals
Conclusion
A Commuter rail service existed in Bengaluru as early as 1963 for HAL employees to commute from KSR Bengaluru to Vimanapura Railway station. In 1983 a formal Commuter Rail system for Bangalore had first been proposed by a team from Southern Railway under then Railway Minister C. K. Jaffer Sharief and a Member of Parliament representing Bangalore. Their recommendation had been to invest in 3 commuter rail lines and a 58-km ring railway. The package was estimated to cost Rs. 6,500 million in 1983 terms spread over a 25-year period.
Again in 1993 C. K. Jaffer Sharief Minister of Railways, India. Influenced the State of Karnataka to establish another committee looking into mass rapid transit. This committee recommended essentially the same put forward by Southern Railway in 1983 and the same circular railway. Both in 1983 and 1993 the proposal was rejected by the then Prime Minister of India.
In 2007, RITES (Rail Indian Technical and Economic Services) was commissioned by the Government of Karnataka to conduct a CTTP (Comprehensive Traffic & Transportation Plan) for the city of Bengaluru. Their report called for 10 Commuter Rail routes totaling 204.0 km. As per the report, Commuter Rail (along existing rail routes) would cost much lesser than mass rapid transit systems.
In July 2010, a proposal was made by Praja Bangalore in a ‘Call To Action report. This plan was supported & presented at the center for infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning (CisTup), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. The proposal had suggested a 376 km network around three hubs (Yeswanthpura Junction, Benniganahalli & Yelahanka Junction) with 42 new stations. A key recommendation was to use the congested KSR Bengaluru only as a pass-through station. In November 2011, RITES conducted a feasibility study exclusively for commuter rail services in Bengaluru and submitted its final report to the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) in November 2012. The 179-page report studied all existing routes totaling 440.8 km of the rail network in & around the city & development of Commuter Rail services over three phases.
The state government approved the commuter rail system on 5 July 2013. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah approved the system in the 2013-14 state budget that he presented on 9 July 2013. The budget proposed the setting up of the Bengaluru Suburban Rail Corporation Limited, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to implement the project estimated to cost Rs. 87.59 billion.
In the 2016-17 Railway budget, Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announced a partnership with the Karnataka government for an Rs. 9000-crore Commuter Rail network for Bengaluru but did not allocate any funds. On 3 February 2016, the state government proposed a modified version of the original RITES plan. This looked to kick-start the project with an Rs. 1,000-crore investment to connect Mandya with Kengeri, Whitefield with Baiyappanahalli, and Tumakuru with Yeshwanthpu a Junction. The state government released 100 crores towards this. The state-appointed RITES again studied the feasibility of the project, and the latter’s survey deemed the project as feasible. However, Railways stated that the proposed Phase Two of the project (linking Tumakuru and Yeshwanthpura Junction) was not feasible.
In November 2018, RITES prepared a revised plan for a 161 km network that was again amended in August 2019 to reduce costs. Out of 82 stations, 29 stations were deleted, route length reduced to 148 km & costs lowered to Rs. 16,000 crores. This was finally accepted by the Government of India.
Latest Update
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 20 laid the foundation stone for rail and road infrastructure projects worth over Rs. 28,000 crores in Karnataka, including the Bengaluru Suburban rail project. Among the projects kicked off, the sub-urban rail project is the most costly project at a cost of over Rs. 15,700 crore. It envisages 4 corridors with a total route length of over 148 Kms. The objective is to enhance mobility and boost connectivity in Bengaluru.
The project will connect Bengaluru city with its suburbs through a Rail-based rapid transit system. Dubbed as India’s most integrated Rail project, it is likely to be completed by 2026. The network will have 57 stations in six directions of Bengaluru, which include Kengeri on the Mysore side, Chikkabanavara on the Tumkur side, Rajanakunte on the Doddaballapura side, Devanahalli on the Kolar side, and Whitefield on Bangarpet side. Further, PM Modi dedicated to the nation India’s first Air Conditioned Railway Station – Sir M Visvesvaraya Railway Station at Baiyappanahalli, which is developed on the lines of a modern airport at a total cost of around Rs 315 crore.
In the state that is home to the fourth largest technology cluster in the world, 150 ‘Technology Hubs’ have also been inaugurated that will upskill the workers in cutting-edge technology. Karnataka is the number one FDI destination and Bengaluru is the IT hub of India. The road and rail connectivity projects in Bengaluru will give a strong boost to India’s economy. It will also catalyze the vibrant automobile, agro, aerospace, textile and garment, biotech, and heavy engineering industries.
Other Important Infra Projects
The Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone of several rail and road projects. These include the redevelopment of Bengaluru Cantt. and Yesvantpur Junction railway station to be developed at a cost of around Rs 500 crore and Rs 375 crore respectively. Several rail electrification projects and railway line doubling projects that have been completed were dedicated to the nation today.
Two sections of the Bengaluru Ring Road project are to be developed at a cost of more than Rs 2,280 crore which will help reduce traffic congestion in the city. Other road projects are six laning of the Nelamangala-Tumkur section of NH-48, widening of Punjalkatte-Charmadi section of NH-73, and rehabilitation and upgradation of a section of NH-69. The cumulative cost to be incurred in these projects is about Rs 3,150 crore.
The Prime Minister dedicated the nation to 150 ‘Technology Hubs’ that have been developed by transforming the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) across Karnataka. This unique initiative developed at a cost of over Rs 4,600 crore is supported by many industry partners. It aims to create a skilled workforce to address Industry 4.0 manpower needs. These Technology Hubs, through their various innovative courses, will provide high-skill training in cutting-edge technology and improve opportunities for ITI graduates in employment and entrepreneurship.
The Prime Minister while laying the foundation stone of the project said that “Bengaluru is a reflection of the spirit of Ek Bharat – Shreshtha Bharat. The development of Bengaluru is the development of millions of dreams. Therefore, in the last 8 years, it has been a continuous effort of the Central Government to develop Bengaluru further”. “The Indian Railways is now trying to provide the facilities, the environment that was once available in airports and air travel. The modern railway station in Bengaluru named after Bharat Ratna Sir M. Visvesvaraya is also proof of this,” PM Modi further said in connection to India’s first Air Conditioned Railway Station which was inaugurated on the day.




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