Four destinations for commuter rail system proposed

The State government has proposed to open four lines connecting Bangalore with Mandya, Tumkur, Chikkaballapur and Hosur as part of the commuter rail system (CRS).

The Urban Development Department (UDD) on Sunday held first round of talks over the possibility of operating the four lines, which would cover 404 kilometre at an estimated cost of Rs 8,000 crore. According to UDD, the line between Mandya and Hosur does not require much investment since an electrified track is already available and the concept can take off with five to six coaches to begin with.

“The government can take up the Mandya and Hosur routes since electrified track is already available. The other two routes are also quite feasible,” said Dr Amitha Prasad, Principal Secretary to UDD.

Divisional Railway Manager, A K Agarwal confirmed that  the suggestion to start the two routes with an initial investment of Rs 300 crore had been made. However, the mode of financing was yet to be finalised.

According to the Railways, the biggest bottleneck is the acquisition of Binny Mills land for the creation of infrastructure, with more land required along the routes for construction of platforms.

“The State government is yet to honour its commitment made in 2006 to transfer two acres of Binny Mills land to Railways for parting with our land to construct the Okalipuram signal-free corridor.Apart from this two acres, additional land is required for the CRS infrastructure,” Agarwal said.

A draft feasibility report on CRS by the Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) was submitted earlier this year to the Department of Urban Land Transport (DULT) and the State government. The report proposed to run trains at a speed of 70 km to 100 km.  The RITES has been asked to submit its final report, following which second round of talks with the Railways will be initiated.

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