Mangalore: ail passengers can look forward to a shorter travel time from the coast to the state’s capital if the railways plans to divert trains via the Shravanabelagola and Nelamangala route.
The South Western Railway authorities plan to complete the stretch during 2016-17 and present before the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) for inspection.
The direct route will shave off nearly 30km to 40km from the present route taken by the day and night trains to Bengaluru from Mangaluru and also eliminate engine reversals. The new route will thus cut short the journey time from the present 12 hours to less than 10 hours.
To a Right to Information query by Dinesh K Bhat of Railway Yathrikara Sangha, the South Western Railway (Puttur) officials said the Shravanabelagola and Nelamangala stretch would be completed this fiscal. Bhat said this will present a direct route to Bengaluru instead of the circuitous Mysuru route for night train and the Tumakuru path for the day train. “The night train requires engine changes at Hassan and Mysuru, which eats about half an hour each for the process. The day train requires engine reversal at Arsikere. The day train also gets delayed due to traffic congestion on that route. After the Shravanabelagola and Nelamangala stretch is completed, we will request the authorities concerned to divert the existing trains by that route so that passengers can benefit from shorter travel hours,” Bhat said.
Now, the day and night train journey takes nearly 12 hours. The night train leaves Mangaluru at 9pm and reaches Yesvantpur at 8.30am.
SWR officials have also said the section between Nelamangala and Solur is 90% complete and finishing works are in progress to present it to CRS inspection.
In the section between Solur and Kunigal, the Tippasandra-Kunigal section is 90% complete and the Solur-Tippasandra part is 80% over. On the reasons for the delay, SWR officials cited leasehold land issue in stud farm near Kunigal and forest land issue for tunnel construction between Solur and Tippasandra. The officials also pointed out that while the stud farm issue was resolved due to intervention of the high court in 2014, the forest land issue was finally cleared by the ministry of environment and forests in 2015.
The Hassan-Shravanabelagola and Chikkabanavara-Nelamangala sections have been completed by the railways in 2010 and 2012 respectively and commissioned for traffic thereafter.
Bhat said he has written to the revenue secretary and the revenue minister on Tuesday to expedite the grant of land of about 10 acres for Solur station approach road.