Boost to suburban rail: Cantt-Whitefield line to be quadrupled

Boost to suburban rail: Cantt-Whitefield line to be quadrupled

The suburban rail network is set to get its biggest boost with the railways finalising a project to quadruple the tracks between Bengaluru Cantonment and Whitefield stations, something that has been  pending for nearly 20 years.

With this, the original project of quadrupling the entire stretch between Bengaluru City and Whitefield railway stations, first proposed in 1998, has been truncated. Railway officials did not, however, say the project has been dropped.

"We have sent a detailed estimate to the Railway Board on the quadrupling of tracks between Cantonment and Whitefield at a cost of Rs 493 crore. The project is likley to be fully funded by the railways," said E Vijaya, Chief Public Relations Officer, South Western Railway.

A source said railway officials conducted a land survey and found that adding two more tracks between City and Cantonment stations required demolition of several high-rise buildings. "As of now, no decision has been taken on that part of the project," the source added.

Bhavin Gandhi, from Citizens4BetterBangalore, who filed a series of RTI applications seeking details of the project, said quadrupling and automatic signalling would enable the railways to run suburban trains on the route every 10 to 15 minutes. This will reduce congestion on the Baiyappanahalli-Whitefield road,  he added.

He said the railways should run at least one suburban train from Yeshwantpur to Whitefield to help thousands of people who travel on the route every day.

Urban transport activist Sanjay Dyamannavar said the railways should operationalise at least one additional line between Cantonment and Whitefield by the end of 2018. "This will complement the third coaching terminal which is set to be completed by the end of next year," he added.

Dyamannavar said officials should extend quadrupling the tracks until Bangarpet and doubling the Yashwntpur-Hosur line as the first step towards a full-fledged suburban rail network. "Quadrupling the Bangarpet line will give way for the plan to run trains above 160 kmph on the Mysuru-Bengaluru-Chennai route, which was proposed in 2015," he added.

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