बंगलोर Bangalore (SBC): The work to double the railway track between Yeshwantpur and Yelahanka is almost over but the line remains underutilised as the South Western Railway (SWR) is running trains only on one side during the day, prompting a view that the project is a wasted effort.
Ninety per cent of the work has been completed and the rest is set for completion by March. The SWR is running trains only on one side divided over morning and evening.
This is despite the fact that the SWR is yet to double the Yelahanka–Doddaballapur–Guntakal railway line: one of the highly congested sections of South Western Railway.
Officials insist that they did ask for extension of doubling the line till Doddaballapur or Guntakal to make it worthwhile, but the railway authorities are not sanctioning it, citing lack of funds.
Sample this: From Yeshwantpur to Yelahanka, no train runs between 11 pm and 10 am. The regular trains start only at 2:30 pm. The first morning train to reach Yelahanka is Yeshwantpur–Devanahalli Passenger, at 10:30 am.
The next trains, at 2:30 pm, are Machilipatnam–Kondaveedu Express and Yeshwantpur–Kacheguda Express, both run three days a week. The next train is Prashanti Nilayam Express at 3:30 pm followed by a daily train, Basava Express, at 5:40 pm, followed by Nanded Express at 11 pm.
The SWR can run more trains via Yelahanka only if there is a double railway line between Yelahanka and Doddaballapur, which is about 20 km, or the line is doubled up to Guntakal, which is 200 km away. Anil Kumar Aggarwal, Divisional Railway Manager, Bengaluru, insists that the section is not underused.
“As per our internal calculation formula for track usage, the section is 140 per cent utilised. As far as the extension of doubling till Doddaballapur is concerned, we have submitted a proposal to the railway board several times but until we get the sanction, we cannot take up the work,” he said.
As per the information, due to one-sided traffic in the morning towards Yeshwantpur and evening towards Yelahanka, the double line is serving no purpose. Experts say the SWR should double the Yelahanka–Doddaballapur–Guntakal line on priority so that the route can be beneficial for passengers commuters as well as railways which will allow it to run more trains on either sides, thus resulting in more revenue.
Sanjeev Dyamannavar from Praja, an NGO that works in the urban transport sector, said, “The railways should look at the bigger picture when it comes to the doubling work and take it on priority. Otherwise there will be a lot of burden on trains running towards the north as Yelahanka-Guntakal is a single line and is being electrified.”