Lok Sabha MP from Bengaluru Central, MP PC Mohan on Monday announced train services between Whitefield and the city centre with increased frequency will begin “shortly”. He also assured that the schedule will be prepared by taking suggestions from the public.
The announcement came after Mohan attended a meeting chaired by Minister of State, Railways, Suresh Angadi along with officials of the South Western Railways. The MoS Railways was holding a meeting relating to pending and ongoing railway projects in the division and directed rail officials to coordinate with the state authorities for ensuring expeditious completion.
With the automatic signalling works between Whitefield and Bengaluru finally completed on August 16, the chorus for the long-missing trains was only growing louder.
The introduction of full-fledged suburban rail service will help hundreds of IT, garment sector and other road users from various parts of Bengaluru and its periphery to commute in a cost-effective manner and also reduce congestion in the gridlocked roads.
“They can easily add trains on this route in the morning and evenings corresponding to office times with the easy availability of MEMU rakes. They should introduce some services from Banaswadi, Yeshwantpur or even Yehalanka to Whitefield two-three services each in morning and evening,” Sanjeev Dhyamanar, a public transport policy expert and long time suburban rail crusader said.
“Introduction of these services will reduce road congestion and give relief to regular commuters. Additionally, now they have more space in Bengaluru station as many trains have been extended till Mysuru,” he added.
In the meeting, KC Swami, Chief Administrative Officer, Construction also gave a presentation on the important projects being undertaken for capacity enhancement over SWR. The doubling between Yelahanka – Makalidurga (36 Km) between Yelahanka - Penukonda section was targeted for commissioning this year. SWR officials said that MoS suggested that efforts should be made to open a complete stretch at a time instead of opening in patches while opening new lines.
However, formation of a special purpose vehicle (SPV, a corporation/ company in the lines of the BMRCL for the city’s metro) is yet to see the light of the day due to dillydallying by the state and the Centre for a decade now over specifics. The formation of SPV is necessary for swift allocation and utilization of funds for multiple projects for the suburban rail network.
Even after the long-overdue project was agreed upon by both the state and Centre including a direct line between Bengaluru City (KSR Majestic) – Airport was agreed upon ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the PMO in May had made a sudden U-turn.