बंगलूरू Bangalore (SBC): Travellers to the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) may be spoilt for choice to reach the airport if the government’s plans materialise.
The South Western Railway, along with the State government, will conduct a feasibility study on a railway link to the KIA on the existing Chikkaballapur line. Although the idea is still in the initial stage, it appears feasible as there is not much rail traffic on the Bangalore City-Devanahalli-Chikkaballapur line, except for a few trains.
These include Yeshwantpur-Yelahanka-Devanahalli, Bangalore City-Yeshwantpur-Yelahanka, Devanahalli-Chikkaballapur, and Bangalore City-Yelahanka-Devanahalli-Chikkaballapur-Shidlaghatta-Chintamani-Kolar.
But even if the new plan is put into force, passengers heading towards KIA will still have to get down at the trumpet interchange station and catch a shuttle bus to reach the airport.
Right now, there is no railway station near the trumpet, leaving the airport-bound passengers with only one option—getting down at the Devanahalli station, about eight kilometres away from KIA.
According to railway officials, the feasibility study would look into whether the existing line could be used and the frequency of trains could be increased depending on the demand. At present, those travelling to KIA take the BMTC’s Volvo buses or cabs or their own vehicles. The Bangalore Metro Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) aims to provide connectivity to the airport in Phase II of Namma Metro.
A senior railway official said that since the proposal on a high-speed rail network for Bangalore had been gathering dust in government files, the idea to provide connectivity to the KIA could also bring hope to commuters from the City who headed for destinations beyond the airport. If the services are extended, it will benefit thousands of people who commute to Bangalore from far-off places for work.
Daily commuters from Kolar and Chikkaballapur do not depend on the trains due to their low frequency on this route. Even the existing train, in the morning hours, is often delayed by hours to make way for long-distance trains. Hence, the daily commuters prefer to catch buses to come to the City for work. But if the railways increases the frequency and builds a station at the trumpet, many commuters could switch over.