With the railway station near the Kempegowda International Airport ready for all functional purposes, activists in Bengaluru advocating for connectivity between the city and the airport are now pushing for upgradation of Doddajala to a crossing station. Doddajala is located in between the airport station and Yehalanka.
This, they say, is a very significant infrastructural push required to make the railways a feasible mode of alternative transport to reach the airport from different parts of Bengaluru.
Rajkumar Dugar, convenor of Citizens for Citizens (C4C), one of the activists pushing for the rail station explained that the 24 km of rail line between Yehalanka and Devanahalli is a single track, which means that trains can only go once every 30 minutes in either direction. He said, â€śWhile ideally, we would want a double line, that may take several years. A crossing station will be an easy fix to the problem, costing no more than Rs 10 crore.â€ť
Rajkumar had also started an online petition in 2018 which was endorsed by 13,000 Bengaluru residents and brought the topic into prominence.
Sanjeev Dyamannavar, an activist and transport analyst said that upgrading Doddajala to a crossing station will involve laying of new tracks of approximately 1 km in length, parallel to the existing track and connected at both ends. â€śThis also involves signalling equipment other than the tracks so that the two trains can cross over simultaneously. With this, the section capacity can be doubled with trains running in both directions every 15 minutes,â€ť he said.
Rajkumar added that besides helping commuters to and from the airport, the crossing station at Doddajala will also make the railways a viable option for intra-city commuting for these areas, from other parts of greater Bengaluru.
Rajkumar and Sanjeev along with other activists had also met with Chief Secretary Vijaya Bhaskar on the issue in January this year. At the time, they said that they were assured that the state government would take this matter up, but there has been no follow up.
â€śUpgrading the existing station at Doddajala to a crossing station will cost Rs 10 crore approximately, so that proposal has been sent to the Railway Board, New Delhi. The Board is considering all aspects and work can begin once they approve the project and funding is provided, which is done annually at the time of the Union Budget. As of now, for the traffic volume we have, a single line is sufficient. With the Airport station opening up, we have to see if there is a substantial increase in train usage in these routes,â€ť AK Verma, Divisional Railway Manager, Bengaluru told TNM.
However, disappointed with the coveted suburban rail project being delayed for decades even after multiple promises by the current government at the Centre, activists are now rallying for the crossing station to be built with corporate funding.
Incidentally, the airport station at the edge of the airport campus is also built with funding provided by Bangalore International Airport Limited, the company that manages the airport. The commuters to the airport including the staff will be taken to the terminal in shuttle buses.