This train runs almost empty everyday

This train runs almost empty everyday

Inconvenient schedule ensures there are few takers for Bangalore-Nelamangala train

This train runs almost empty everyday

The Nelamangala-Bangalore passenger train, which was launched without much publicity in April 2013, three years after its announcement, has now become a bane for the Railways.

For, there are very few takers for the train as its timings are not convenient to the people.

Hoping that this will be a popular short-distance service considering the number of travellers on the route, the Railways on April 29, 2013, introduced it between Bangalore  and Nelamangala. In view of the model code of conduct for the Assembly polls, the service was started without much fanfare.

Timing blamed

However, the number of passengers who travel by this train does not cross double digit sometimes. Regular commuters blame it on its timing as the train leaves the City at 12.20 pm and reaches Nelamangala at 1.20 pm.

Even the return timing is odd as the train leaves Nelamangala at 2.10 pm and reaches Bangalore by 3.20 pm. En route, the train stops at Malleswaram, Yeshwantpur, Chikkabanavara and Soladevanahalli, covering a distance of about 23 km.

According to railway officials, the service is not very popular with not many boarding the train at either the City Railway station or Malle- swaram, Yeshwantpur, Chikkabanavara and Soladevanahalli stations. However, the commuters have a different view.

“If the timings are changed, this will be one of the most popular trains as there are thousands of people who come to work in the City from these areas. This will help them if the train service begins at 8 am,” said Ganesh Kini, who resides at a village near Nelamangala and travels to the City daily for work.

Another commuter Y Prasad, who works in a private firm at Seshadripuram, says that the bus fare to the City from Nelamangala is Rs 20, while the train fare is a meagre Rs five. Scores of people will be benefited if the timings are revised.

In addition to the comfortable journey, people can overcome the frequent problem of traffic jams, he added.

Poor publicity

The train most of the time has run almost empty. “I counted the number of passengers one day in June. There were hardly 20, while each bogie has a capacity to accommodate at least 75 passengers,” said Prasad. However, some officials say that it is not the timings which has affected the service, but the poor publicity about the train service.

“First of all, it was the timing of launch of the service. It was launched during the elections and the code of conduct deprived us an opportunity to advertise the service. Secondly, the railway station in Nelamangala is three km away from the town while the bus stand is in the heart of the town,” said an official on condition of anonymity.

Railways to revise timings

Anil Agarwal, Divisional Railway Manager, South Western Railways, said: “The service is not very popular. We have received requests to revise the timings. There have been demands that the train be run during evenings. We are working on the same.”

The train has 13 bogies — nine general second-class sitting coaches, two double-decker chair cars and two second class-cum-luggage vans. The total seating capacity of the passenger train is 972.

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