Track ready, but Bengaluru-Mangaluru train still stuck in the pipeline

Track ready, but Bengaluru-Mangaluru train still stuck in the pipeline

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is expe­c­ted to flag off the train service betw­e­en Yeshwantpur and H­a­ssan on March 26, but the absence of the much-awaited Bengaluru-Mangalore train on the list has angered many people in both the cities.

Railway officials said they have already sent the proposal for the train but are yet to get an approval. “Shortage of rakes (set of coaches that form a train) has also delayed the proposed Hubballi-Mysuru train via Bengaluru. We have proposed 30 trains that are yet to be approved,” a senior official said. “The railways spent Rs 1,300 crore on the line and now don’t want to run a train on it though people were waiting for it for over a decade. We will fight for the train,” said T P Lokesh of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike.

However, Prabhu’s tweet on Tuesday night has given hope. “#Bengaluru to #Mangalore several people travel by road, to help them starting new train to reduce travel time by 4 hrs minimum. #WeCare (sic)”.

South Western Railway had filed an affidavit in the High Court in reply to a writ petition by Railway Yatri Sangha, Udupi, stating the Bengaluru-Mangaluru express, called as Kudla Express, will start chugging by March 31.  R L Dias of the Sangha said, he would wait till first week of April before moving the court against the railways. “We have spent more than Rs 1 lakh to fight for this train in the court. We can’t give up now,” he said.

SWR officials, however, noted that the Prabhu’s tweet hints at the possibility of an announcement during the March 26 programme. The train was announced in 2014-15 budget by then railway minister D V Sadananda Gowda and officials subsequently released the route, showing that the train will run via Mysuru.

Senior officials said any change in route should be approved by the Railway Board, but added that Prabhu’s tweet, which mentions saving four-hour travel time, indicates that the train will run on the new Kunigal line. But the new line cannot save four hours, as promised by the minister. The travel time between Bengaluru and Mangaluru will be reduced from the present 12 hours to a maximum of 9 hours, officials said.

Yeshwantpur - Hassan train from Sunday

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu will flag off the train service between Yeshwantpur and Hassan at Yeshwantpur railway station in Bengaluru on March 26 at 11 am, DHNS reports from Hubballi. Yeshwantpur-Hassan Intercity Express train service will run daily. A decision about running more trains on this route would be taken later, said South Western Railway (SWR) chief public relations officer E Vijaya. A letter has been written to the Railway Board to run Bengaluru-Mangaluru train via Kunigal, and approval is awaited. There is also a plan to run the train, now running via Mysuru, on this route, she added.

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