The Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) train to run exclusively between Baiyappanahalli and Whitefield was launched on Friday by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.
BANGALORE: The city’s tech hub Whitefield is all set to get the 15th suburban train from Friday . This translates to a frequency of 15 to 60 minutes during peak hours. A train to run exclusively between Baiyappanahalli and Whitefield, to cater to the thousands of commuters from the busy IT hub during peak hours, was launched on Friday.
The Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) train will leave Baiyappanahalli at 8.25 a.m. and arrive at Whitefield at 8.50 a.m. – a timing that could help office-goers beat the morning traffic rush that clogs K.R. Puram and Outer Ring Road. The train will stop at K.R. Puram and Hoodi in a route that covers 15km in less than half an hour. In the return, the train will leave at 6.15 p.m. Eight coaches of the DEMU train can carry upto 2,412 passengers.
Of the total 94 suburban services operated by the South Western Railway , 15 pairs are for Whitefield. With each train having a passenger capacity of 2,000, they can carry up to 60,000 passengers a day . Five trains arrive at Whitefield from Bengaluru City and Baiyappanahalli railway stations from 7.45 am to 10.30 am. As many as six trains arrive here during the evening peak hour (5.45 pm to 9 pm). From Whitefield to the three railway stations of central Bengaluru, six trains operate from 7 am to 9.45 am. From 4 pm to 7.20 pm, there are as many as seven services.
“This is an old demand of those in Bengaluru… Chief Minister (Siddaramaiah) has been meeting with us on the joint ventures for a number of projects and we are working on it,” said Suresh Prabhu, Railway Minister, who flagged the train remotely.
Commuter routes taking shape
With this, the line now hosts more than 15 trains that can be used by local commuters, while the DEMU is the second such exclusive short-distance train. From K.S.R. Bengaluru, there are five trains between 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., while the evening rush between 4 p.m. and 7p.m., sees six trains departing Whitefield. “While this is a good move, we need two or three more such services to ease the traffic situation and get people to start using suburban rail,” said P.C. Mohan, area MP.
In all, the South Western Railways says there are 95 commuter services in and around Bengaluru, connecting various stations to Ramanagaram, Chikkaballapur, Tumakuru among others.
“We want the Railways Ministry to expedite the proposal for a 54-km line doubling and electrification of the Baiyappanahalli and Hosur as well as 27-km betwen Yesvanthpur and Channasandra which can be the suburban line to the airport,” said H.N. Ananth Kumar, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers.
He said the suburban system can take off the ground in a big way if the state government allots 40 acres from the now-vacant NGEF land in Baiyappanahalli for maintenance workshops and another 9.6 acres from the erstwhile Binny Mills land for an operations centre.
It is in line with this demand that SWR is starting the new service exclusively between Baiyappanahalli and Whitefield from Friday .
Urban affairs expert RK Mishra said reliability and an increase in the frequency of train services is necessary to change the travelling pattern of people. “The railways should provide a suburban train every fifteen minutes in the morning and evening peak hours,“ he said.
Mishra said about four lakh people travel from different parts of Bengaluru to Whitefield. “ As the Baiyappanahalli railway station is integrated with the Metro, people from north and south Bengaluru will definitely move to the train commute if services are reliable,“ he said.
Ajith Sequeira from Whitefield Rising suggested that the new train stop at the satellite goods terminal as well. “Corporate firms should increase shuttle bus services for the benefit of employees. The BMTC should deploy more buses to ensure train usage becomes popular,“ he said. A foot overbridge from the Whitefield railway station to the Kadugodi bus terminus would help attain this, he pointed out.
Commuter railway activist Sanjeev Dyamannavar said the railways should increase the number of coaches on these trains to about 12-15 from the present nine.
BMTC operates 332 buses to Whitefield which make 2,358 trips from different parts of the city . It caters to about 90,000 passengers a day .