2-year deadline set for initial phase of Bangalore Suburban Rail

Rs.345 Crore has been allocated for the Suburban Rail project, with Karnataka State Govt bearing 80% of the cost
Fifteen DEMU trains will be converted to MEMU (in pic) under the initial phase of the suburban rail project. picture for representation purpose only

BANGALORE: The suburban railway project has got yet another push from the state government, which has published the gazette notification and set a two-year deadline for conversion of 15 diesel trains into electric ones and establishment of a maintenance shed.

While Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) had suggested that the 440-km project be completed in three phases, the government has split Phase 1 to prioritise a “small subset of activities”.

A sum of Rs 345 crore has been allocated for the project, with the state bearing 80% of the cost.

Of this, Rs 278 crore will be spent on conversion of 15 Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) trains to Mainland Electric Multiple Units (MEMU) and Rs 25 crore on construction of a MEMU maintenance shed at Banaswadi. The government has told the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) to complete Phase 1A by 2019. It has decided to set up a project implementation unit at the DULT, which is responsible for monitoring the project.

As per the Centre’s suburban rail policy, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) has to be set up to implement the project. The gazette notes that DULT must initiate the process of setting up the SPV “quickly”.

For effective use of tracks, intermediate block signalling (IBS) systems will be installed between KSR (Majestic), Cantonment, KR Puram and Whitefield stations.

Interestingly, the gazette does not indicate that the state has any problem with the 80:20 cost-sharing model laid down by the Centre in the suburban rail policy.

“The funding pattern for the project shall be as per the new investment framework of the policy of the Ministry of Railways,” it says.

Baiyappanahalli-Whitefield train

As part of Phase 1A, the state has provided Rs 41.2 crore for running a train between Baiyappanahalli and Whitefield during the peak hours.

With the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited set to begin work on a Metro line on the same route, road traffic is expected to be hit. The government has provided the train as an alternative to prevent traffic gridlocks in peak hours.

Rs.279 Crore for conversion of 15 DEMU trains to MEMU trains
Rs.25 Crore for construction of MEMU maintenance shed at Banaswadi
Completion of phase 1A by 2019
Directorate of Urban Land Transport to set up special purpose vehicle