Hassan-Yeshwantpur Intercity Express is the first confirmed train to run after the formal inauguration, the date for which is yet to be announced
BANGALORE: Former Prime Minister and Hassan Lok Sabha member H.D. Deve Gowda will invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate the new Hassan-Bengaluru line. “The Railway Minister (Suresh Prabhu) desires that the line be opened by the Prime Minister and [has] requested me to extend a formal invitation. I’m going to Delhi tomorrow and try to speak the Prime Minister or intimate this to his office,” Mr. Deve Gowda told on Tuesday.
Immediately after coming to power, Mr.Modi had promised to complete the line on priority; it still took about three years. “I am not going to blame anyone for the inordinate delay of 22 years for the completion of the line,” said Mr. Deve Gowda, who had sanctioned the line when he was PM.
The 110-km Nelamangala-Shravanabelagola railway line, part of the new 166-km Bengaluru-Hassan line, is set to be commissioned by South Western Railway (SWR) on February 28. This follows authorisation given by A.K. Manoharan, Commissioner of Railway Safety, Southern Circle, who inspected the line and conducted speed trials between February 6 and 10. Ashok Gupta, chief administrative officer, Construction, SWR, told The Hindu that the commissioner on Monday issued authorisation to run passenger trains with a maximum speed of 80 kmph.
With this, the hope of the people of Hassan and coastal regions for the shortest rail route to Bengaluru has come true. The project had been announced by Deve Gowda way back in 1996, but the work progressed at a snail’s pace, partly owing to non-availability of land and mostly because of meagre fund allocation by the Railways.
Sharing the cost
In 2010, the then Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa decided to share the cost of ongoing as well as new Railway projects to sped up the work. More funds from the Railways came when D.V. Sadananda Gowda was Railway Minister.
SWR’s chief public relations officer E. Vijaya said the commissioning would be done with a trial run of a passenger train on the section on February 28. The formal inauguration would be done depending upon the dates acceptable for the dignitaries.
As of now, SWR has planned an intercity express between Hassan and Yeshwantpur, leaving Hassan at around 6 a.m. and reaching Yeshwantpur at 9.30 a.m. In the return direction, the train would leave Yeshwantpur at around 6 p.m. and reach Hassan at 9.30 p.m. It is tentatively scheduled to halt at Chikkabanavar, Kunigal, Yediyur, Balagangadhar Nagar, Shravanabelagola and Channarayapatna.
Meanwhile, the zone has sought the Railway Board’s permission to re-route the yet-to-be-introduced Train No. 16575/576 Bengaluru-Mangaluru Kudla Express via the new route. Mr. Sadananda Gowda had announced this train in 2014 to run via Mysuru.
Ms. Vijaya also said three goods trains between Mangaluru and Bengaluru would be diverted via the new section after February 28.
Since it is a large section, SWR requires at least 120 workers, including 60 tracks-men and about 35 stations masters. The zone is in the process of identifying personnel for posting and the process could take about a fortnight, Ms. Vijaya said.