Fast-tracking B'lore-Mysore rail work

High traffic density on Mysore Road leaves commuters vulnerable; electric trains need of the hour

Fast-tracking B'lore-Mysore rail work

Speedy completion of railway track-doubling between Bangalore and Mysore appears to be the need of the hour given the increasing number of accidents on Mysore Road. The demand has gained momentum with the railway budget around the corner.

According to statistics from the traffic police and infrastructure experts, Mysore Road has a traffic density of more than 60,000 vehicles per hour.

Consequently, many accidents occur on the road, particularly on the stretch between Kengeri and Rajarajeshwarinagar.

As many as 60 people die every year on this road due to accidents, while the number of non-fatal accidents is five times the casualty figure, said M A Salim, Mysore Police Commissioner and former Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Bangalore. 

“The Mysore Road stretch is regarded as an accident zone. There is a constant rush on the road, especially during peak hours on weekdays, and all through the day during weekends. Thus, construction of Metro and plying fast electric trains between the two cities will be helpful,” Salim said.

However, the track-doubling project on the 140-km route, which began in 2007, is complete only in parts; Bangalore-Ramanagara- Channapatna-Shettihalli; Maddur-Mandya and Mysore-Nagahalli, totalling 91 km.

According to a railway official, the doubling of the track on Shettihalli-Maddur and Mandya-Yeliyur stretches (total 19 km) will be completed by the end of December 2014, while the work on the remaining 28 km will be completed next year. He said the Railways requires Rs 235 crore to complete the project – Rs 150 crore from the Karnataka government and Rs 65 crore from the Railways.

“Land and funds are the main constraints. We require 30 acres of land in Byadarahalli and Pandavapura in Mandya district. The project will be completed after the Tipu armoury is shifted and necessary funds are released,” the official added.

Electrification work

The electrification of the track up to Kengeri was completed a decade ago, while the work up to Ramanagara (45 km from Bangalore City Station) was completed last year.However, clearance has been obtained from the Railway Board and the Safety Wing to run the train only up to Kengeri.

Anil Kumar Agarwal, Divisional Railway Manager, South Western Railways, said the electrification of the entire stretch would be completed once the land was acquired and adequate funds were released.

‘Trains economical’

Prakash Mandoth, former chairperson of Infrastructure Committee, FKCCI, said it costs anywhere between Rs 110 and Rs 300 to travel by bus from Bangalore to Mysore, while the train fare is around Rs 35.

He said every day, 15 pairing trains run between Bangalore and Mysore, each carrying more than 2,000 passengers. But more coaches can be added with electric trains and track-doubling, thus reducing the load on the road.

The travel will be economical, faster and eco-friendly too, he added.

“Many tourists use Mysore Road to reach Kodagu, Chamarajanagar, Bandipur, Nagarhole Tiger Reserve, Kerala, Ooty and other places. However, the entire stretch has more than 800 humps and rumble strips, most of which are illegal and unscientific. The Railways should complete the project at the earliest. The delay has resulted in escalation of cost to Rs 800 crore from Rs 350 crore,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Metro officials added that the work on Magadi Road and Nayandahalli stretch is likely to completed by December 2014 and trains may operate by February, 2015.

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