Bangalore (SBC): Despite infrastructure being in place, the Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) service proposed between Bengaluru City and Ramanagaram is getting inordinately delayed due to the presence of three overhead power line crossings near the tracks. These crossings run between the City and Nayandahalli railway stations.
Launch of the EMU services is awaiting a nod from the Railway Board, New Delhi. As a temporary measure, the Bangalore Division has sent a proposal to its Hubballi headquarters seeking permission to launch two Diesel Electric Multiple Units (DEMU) along this 45-km stretch. The EMU service between the City and Ramanagaram was proposed in the 2014-2015 Railway Budget. The plan was to launch three trips each in the upward and downward direction.
Explaining the reasons for the delay, Divisional Railway Manager Sanjiv Agarwal told, “The high-tension overhead power lines and their tower are located close to the tracks in the stretch between the City station and Nayandahalli. One is a 66KVA power line while two are 220 KVA power lines.”
The electrification of one line between the City and Kengeri (12 km) was completed in 1997 and the return route was completed in 2010, he said. The electrification between Kengeri and Ramanagaram was completed a year ago at a cost of around Rs 20 crore, he added.
The height of the tower is 36.7 metres and safety measures dictate there should be a similar horizontal distance between the railway track and the tower, he said. However, the horizontal distance falls short by 19 metres and this is considered a safety risk to passengers in the event of the tower falling down onto the tracks. “There is no space to shift the tower as it is surrounded by residential localities,” he said.
Railways had written to the Karnataka Power Corporation Limited to shift the tower and its power lines, but the Corporation wants the Railways to bear the entire cost of shifting. This was not considered economically feasible by the Railways.
DEMUs are run presently from the City to Chikkaballapur, Hosur, Tumakuru, Nelamangala, Bangarpet and Kolar. When the green signal is given from Hubbali, DEMU service to Ramanagaram can be started immediately, Agarwal said.
The Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety, Lucknow, has been apprised of the issue and he has to forward recommendations to the Railway Board. “The Railway Board then must condone the infringement (declare the area safe for operations) and give us clearance,” the DRM said. The Commissioner of Rail Safety will then carry out an inspection. The DRM said that EMU service’s pick-up and halts will be faster than that of DEMU.