Relief for Bangalore Rail commuters as MEMU Rail services to begin tomorrow

In a move that could decongest the city, MEMU (Mainline Electric Multiple Unit) rail services are all set to become operational on Monday. Bengaluru City Rail hub to also have a third entrance

BANGALORE: Linking the IT hub of Whitefield to the city centre, MEMU services will be a boon to techies. Union Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu will flag off the train that would ply between Ramanagaram, Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna Railway Station Bengaluru and Kuppam.

CM Tweets: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday tweeted, “GoK will provide 80% of the Rs 360 crore needed to convert 15 trains (passenger trains) into MEMU trains. This is the beginning of suburban rail for Bengaluru.” However, in a subsequent tweet, he stated that although the state agreed to provide 80% of the cost to kick-start the suburban railway, he requested the Centre to agree to a 50:50 sharing model.

Besides introduction of MEMUs, several other railway works were in the pipeline, Divisional Railway Manager, Bengaluru Division, Sanjiv Agarwal, said, ‘The ‘Chuku Buku Railu Beku’ awareness campaign demanding commuter rail service for the city last year saw the participation of thousands of Bengaluru residents.

The Bengaluru-Pune doubling work would be completed in four years, according to Railway officials. Work is in the final stages on the Mysuru-Bengaluru double line. With just 1.5 km left to be doubled, the stretch would be ready by March.

Work on the Hassan-Bengaluru stretch is in the final stages of completion. Trains have started plying on the Bengaluru-Nelamangala and on the Hassan-Shravanabelagola stretches. Work between Shravanabelagola and Nelamangala is due to be completed by February. Also, work on the Rayadurga-Tumakuru stretch is on the verge of completion. By the end of the year, the 260-km line would be ready.

A train would ply between Yeshwantpur and Shivamogga three days a week. This would be flagged off by Suresh Prabhu on Monday and regular trips would start on January 18.

For rail passengers deboarding at the Bengaluru city railway station, reaching the Kempegowda Interchanging Station on the Metro grid is an effort. Similar is the plight of metro commuters heading to board a train in Majestic. All that could change in the next few months.

The Bengaluru division of South Western Railway (SWR) has started the Rs 1.5-crore project of constructing a third entrance to the railway station. This third entrance to the city’s largest rail hub provides access to and from the metro station. It also links the state mofussil bus station and the city bus network.

However, the demand for a foot overbridg e on the Gubbi Thotadappa Road, which connects the railway and metro stations, is yet to be addressed.

“The civil work has already started. The new entrance will have a ticketing counter, parking facility and a concrete surface leading to Platform 1. We expect the project to be ready in the next three to four months,” Sanjeev Agarwal, divisional railway manager, told ET.

The railway station’s main entrance opposite the BMTC bus terminus and the second entrance on the Okalipuram side are witnessing heavy rush.

Once the third entrance is operational, reaching the other side of the road would still be an issue in the absence of a foot overbridge. This is because footpath on both sides of the road is either dirty or blocked by venders, autorickshaws and toilets.Besides, the underground subway which is linked to KSRTC, BMTC and railway station is totally illmaintained.

Former central government employee KN Krishna Prasad, who is a regular train user, says: People are forced to jaywalk or take the dirty underground subway to cross the road. A skywalk at the new entrance connecting the metro station is the need of the hour.

No talk on Skywalk

The officials of SWR said they have asked the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) to fund a foot overbridge at the third entrance.”We have already approached Namma Metro to fund the construction of the foot overbridge, which may cost Rs 3 crore. But, there has been no response. If they agree to fund, we will provide the required land at the new entrance to erect ramps,” a railway official said.

When asked, BMRC managing director Pradeep Singh Kharola said: “We are yet to take a decision on funding the overbridge. We will talk to them (SWR),” he said.