Railway line electrification done, Three express, three passenger trains expected to be hauled by electric locomotives on this section. Trains between Bengaluru, Mysuru likely to run faster now.
BANGALORE: The electrification of Bengaluru-Mysuru railway line has received clearance from the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS), giving a green signal for operating electric trains on the track.
CPRO confirmed the clearance, but refused to talk about introduction of additional services.”There are plans, but no decision has been taken on introducing additional trains,” she said. Officials in SWR are preparing for an event next week, but the dates are yet to be finalised.
“December 26 was the tentative date. But it may be postponed in all likelihood. The Railway minister as well as the chief minister are expected to take part in the programme,” a source said.
Rail infrastructure on the 139-km-long Mysuru-Bengaluru section is set to receive a major impetus with the electrified double track between the two cities completed at a cost of nearly ₹210 crore.
Three express and three passenger trains are expected to be hauled by electric locomotives on the Mysuru-Bengaluru section after the commissioning of the works, which will be inaugurated by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on December 26.
This follows completion of the track electrification work by the Central Organisation for Rail Electrification (CORE), Allahabad, and statutory inspection by the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) who has since given clearance to make the entire stretch operational.
Once inaugurated, trains running on the Mysuru-Chennai section are likely to be hauled by the electric locomotives and this includes the Chennai-Mysuru-Chennai Shatabdi Express and Mysuru-Chennai-Mysuru Kaveri Express.
But the authorities are working on the possibility of operating two other long distance trains originating from Mysuru — one going to Darbhanga in Bihar and the other to Howrah.
“Besides, we plan to introduce three passenger trains on the Mysuru-Bengaluru section hauled by electric locomotive, but all these may materialise by March,” said the official. In addition, the weekly superfast express service between Mysuru and Chennai is also set to be hauled by electric locomotive to provide better traction making the ride smoother.
Meanwhile, senior officials in the South Western Railway averred that the full benefits of track electrification will fructify only if the Mysuru-Bengaluru stretch is serviced by the Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) suburban services to provide fast, reliable and cheap transportation between the two cities. This is because the MEMUs provide for faster acceleration and deceleration besides better traction that will reduce the running time.
“Merely hauling the existing rakes with electric locomotives will have limited benefits of saving fuel cost,” said the official.
But what is perturbing is that MEMU services on the section are yet to be delivered. The State government, as per the agreement, has allotted 80% of the cost but the railways is yet to receive the full set of rakes from Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala. As against orders placed for 14 MEMU rakes placed by the Railway Board, only six MEMU rakes have been supplied so far, said the official. The remaining eight rakes are expected to be supplied by October 2018, he added.
As per the MoU signed early this year by the State government and the Railways, 15 pairs of existing passenger train rakes operating out of Bengaluru division are to be converted to MEMU rakes at a cost of ₹278 crore. These include train numbers 56231/56232, 56233/56234 and 56263/56264. The cost of converting each unit is pegged at ₹10.3 crore and the State government will bear 80% of the cost while the railways will bear the remaining.
At present, 24 pairs of trains operate on the Mysuru-Bengaluru section but introduction of additional services on the section will also hinge on de-congestion of Bengaluru station and expansion of Mysuru station.
With the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) granting authorisation to run trains on the 39-km electrified section between Yeliyur and Mysuru, the possibility of running trains faster between Bengaluru and Mysuru has increased. When the infrastructure at the congested Mysuru gets upgraded, or a new terminal is established there, more trains too can run between the cities. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal is set to commission the electrification project on December 26 simultaneously from Bengaluru and Mysuru. The immediate impact would be on the Shatabdi Express running from Chennai to Mysuru via Bengaluru.
“The Shatabdi would no longer have to halt at Bangalore City Railway Station and wait until the electric loco is changed to a diesel one as the full route is electrified now,” said AK Gupta, General Manager, South Western Railway Zone. “Shatabdi may arrive earlier in Mysuru and depart earlier too. Details are being worked out.” The GM also held out hope of running trains faster between the two sections in the future. “It will be reflected in the next railway time-table,” he said. The Bengaluru-Mysuru track doubling project (138.3 km) and electrification project commenced in 2007. With the commissioning of 1.7-km stretch at Srirangapatna on November 21 this year, the doubling project has been fully completed. “Since the delay in electrification was holding up the project, we decided to commission the doubling work last month, “ a source said.
“The CRS gave certification to run trains between Yeliyur and Mysuru on December 14. With the commissioning of this stretch, the electrification of tracks between Bengaluru and Mysuru has been fully completed,” a railway source said. Diesel trains would be replaced with electric trains in due course. The electrification took place in stages. The stretch between Bengaluru and Kengeri was readied in 2008; Kengeri to Ramanagaram in 2016; Ramanagaram to Yeliyur in early 2017; and Yeliyur to Mysuru this month. Atul Gupta, Divisional Railway Manager, Mysuru Division, said the station with six platforms was congested presently. “Altogether 24 pairs of trains, including express and passenger trains, are running between the two cities daily,” he said. Another senior official said two proposals have been sent to the Railway Board to boost infrastructure facilities in Mysuru.