High-speed project off; suburban rail to connect KIA

High-speed project off; suburban rail to connect KIA

Putting its weight behind metro and suburban rail to connect the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) with the city, the state government has shelved the proposal to build an ultra high-speed train between Cubbon Road and KIA.

The Bangalore Airport Rail Link (BARL) Limited, which was incorporated in 2008 for the high-speed rail project, had submitted a detailed project report (DPR) on building an Ultra High-Speed Maglev Rail system in three phases. Prepared by a Swiss company, the DPR suggested taking up the project in three phases with a distance of 38 km in two phases and a 7 km line in phase 3.

“We are handing over the project to the BMRCL and will transfer the responsibility of BARL as well. The high-speed rail project will be shelved. Instead, we are focusing on connecting the airport under the suburban rail project,” said Mahendra Jain, Additional Chief Secretary, Urban Development Department.

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) has already called tender for detailed design consultation for Nagavara-KIA metro line being taken up under Phase 2B. The state government approved the Rs 5,950-crore project last year.

Jain said the single railway line to Devanahalli, which passes next to the airport, has to be doubled. “We have held discussions with railway officials on doubling and electrification of the line. We can have upgraded railway lines to support a superfast train,” he said.

A source said the government will emphasise on suburban rail as it promises faster commute at more affordable fares. "Rail fares are cheaper than metro fares. So those regular travellers on the route can travel with a monthly pass. We will push for rail connectivity," the source said.

The state government is also set to wind up BARL, which was assigned the task of implementing monorail or light rail transit (LRT) besides the high-speed rail project. “The BARL had to implement LRT on Hebbal-JP Nagar along the western portion of outer ring road, and Magadi Road toll gate to Kachohalli gate beyond Nice Road. Since all these projects are being taken up by the BMRCL, we are recommending dissolution of BARL,” sources said.