Bangalore-Mangalore High-Speed Rail Project may face many challenges

According to R.L. Dias of Udupi Yathri Sangha, it is impossible to run high-speed trains on the track which has deep slope between Sakleshpur and Subramanya Road stations

The proposed high-speed rail connectivity between Bangalore and Mangalore could be the most challenging among such projects being planned to decongest the State’s capital.

Minister for Infrastructure R.Roshan Baig, who announced last week that the new infrastructure policy would be formulated after consultations with all stakeholders, had spoken about the need to bring investment

to implement high-speed rail projects connecting Bangalore to Mangalore, Mysore, Kolar, Tumkur, Hubli and Belgaum.

G.G. Mohandas Prabhu, who formerly headed the infrastructure subcommittee of the Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said introduction of any more passenger trains on the Bangalore-Mangalore railway line would not be easy.

The tripartite agreement that Hassan Mangalore Rail Development Company Ltd. (HMRDC), floated to undertake gauge conversion of the line, has entered into with the Railways and the State government limits the movement of passenger trains on the line. The line capacity is to be used primarily for goods services, according to a key feature of the agreement.

The agreement says, “SWR (South Western Railway) shall be entitled to run on the project railway, the equivalent of the passenger services that already were operational on the MG (metre gauge) track … without payment of any access charges. Provided, however, that any new passenger service on the project railway shall be commenced only with the prior written consent of HMRDC.”

Mr. Prabhu, a member of the Konkan Railway Users Consultative Committee, said the State government would have to first take steps to ease the conditions in the agreement before thinking of increasing the passenger train service or talking about high speed trains.

Slope

R.L. Dias, leader of the Udupi Yathri Sangha, told that it was impossible to run high-speed trains on the track which had deep slope between Sakleshpur and Subramanya Road. Passenger trains take about two-and-a-half hours to cover the 55-km stretch, with two locomotives used.

If the government was keen on high-speed trains, it would have to ensure laying of a line to Bangalore via Nandikur, Karkala, Ujire, Charmadi and Mudigere, he said. This proposal, he said, had been submitted to the Railway Board. The line could be linked to the Sakleshpur-Kadur line, which is under construction. Another new link line from Mudigere to Belur could provide a track that could take high-speed trains between Mangalore and Bangalore, he said.

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