Doubling Hosur line: Over 20 lakh to benefit

Doubling Hosur line: Over 20 lakh to benefit

Doubling the 48-km railway line from Baiyappanahalli to Hosur could dramatically decongest the IT corridor stretch along Hosur Road, Outer Ring Road (ORR) and Sarjapur Road leading to Electronics City. Introducing fast, frequent and reliable suburban trains on the additional line can potentially push over 20 lakh people on this stretch to switch from road to rail.

This is the big takeaway from the green signal given to the doubling project with a budgetary allocation of Rs 375.67 crore. Thousands of commuters, urban rail analysts and researchers have welcomed the move, but want railway stations to be upgraded and last-mile gaps filled through shuttle buses.

Consider this: Commuters are trapped daily in hours-long traffic gridlocks on the ORR stretch from K R Puram to Silk Board Junction on Hosur Road through Marathahalli, Mahadevapura, Kadubeesanahalli, Bellandur and Sarjapur Road Junction.

Now, visualise the suburban trains evacuating thousands of commuters every 10 to 15 minutes from stations that run almost parallel to the hyper-congested ORR. Introduce shuttle buses on roads branching out from ORR to stations at Baiyappahanahalli, Bellandur Road, Carmelaram and Heelalige.

Electronics City is only 6.5km from Heelalige station. "IT employees from Electronics City can take the shuttle buses to Heelalige and reach Baiyappanahalli within 15-20 minutes by fast suburban trains on a dedicated line. In less than 40 minutes, they can be in Hebbal, at a cost of Rs 10," notes Suhas Narayana Murthy, whose road to rail cost-benefit analysis on this route had attracted the Railway Ministry's attention.

The Bellandur Road station, says Murthy, is hardly 1.5 to 2 km from EcoSpace and other tech parks in Kadubeesanahalli on ORR. Carmelaram station is barely a few metres from Sarjapur Road, where many IT firms have their base. Once the last-mile connectivity issues between the stations and the IT offices are resolves through shuttles, the decongestion will be complete.

Once the Hosur line is doubled, regular trains should be introduced between Baiyappanahalli and Heelalige stations. This, says Murthy, will benefit the entire IT corridor. At Baiyappanahalli, commuters could easily switch over to the Metro to head to inner city areas or towards Whitefield once the second phase is completed. Effectively, this would mean linking the two IT hubs of Bengaluru by rail, while diverting a huge traffic load off the roads.