Demand for commuter train in City growing

As the railway budget draws closer, calls to include a commuter rail project for Bangalore are getting shriller.

Though no concrete proposals have been formulated, many people keen on its implementation have been suggesting new ideas.

Satinder Pal Chopra, a retired businessman who has carefully studied train schedules in Bangalore and other major railway stations across the country, has come up with a schedule for commuter trains to operate on the existing railway lines.

One of the major problems, he says, is the shortage of pit lines and stable lines at the City station. “There are not enough pit lines and stable lines to clear the platforms at short intervals. There are 11 trains which remain on the platforms from two to 10 hours daily,” he says.

Pit lines are washing lines with open dumping pit at base throughout the track, used for all types of cleaning and maintenance of compartments. Stable lines are tracks for storing, sorting or loading/unloading locomotives.

Comparing the frequency of trains in Mumbai and New Delhi, he says that at Churchgate, Mumbai, four platforms handle 436 trains, while New Delhi station handles 296 trains daily with 16 platforms.

“In contrast, the Bangalore City station handles only 125 trains on its 10 platforms daily. “Unlike New Delhi, the interconnectivity between six main lines and all the platforms at the City station is not proper. For example, trains in Yeshwantpur section can only stop at platforms eight, nine and 10. This is another major constraint for operating more trains,” Chopra claims.

He concedes that addressing the shortage of pit lines and stable lines can be solved only if the Railways is allowed to acquire the Binny Mills land. “Besides, the City station will have to be remodelled to provide interconnectivity between six main lines and all the platforms, and the sanctioned four tracks between the City railway station and Whitefield have to be completed. But this will take time,” he admits.

The immediate solution, according to him, is to start a skeletal suburban train service on the existing infrastructure. Chopra has worked out a comprehensive schedule, which he has given to the Railway and Infrastructure department officials. So far he has not received a reply.

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