BENGALURU (Metro Rail News): Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) has stated that civil works for the long-delayed Bengaluru suburban rail project shall begin this year and it stated that it should start where Namma Metro’s network ends. “Namma Metro should concentrate its efforts within the boundaries of the BBMP or BDA, and suburban rail should be extended to surrounding districts and satellite towns.” This will avoid unnecessarily competing for ridership between the two agencies.
“This will also benefit suburban users in neighbouring towns,” an official added. “For example, the Namma Metro currently runs all the way to Kempegowda International Airport” (KIA). As a result, suburban rail might begin there and run all the way to Devanahalli. Similarly, the suburban rail may run from BIEC to Tumakuru, Kengeri to Ramanagara, Whitefield to Kolar, Bommasandra to Attibele, and Yelahanka to Doddaballpur, he said. He explained that the 148-kilometre suburban rail project is mostly focused within the BBMP boundaries, where Metro is expanding.
Because it does not connect satellite towns, the planned project cannot be dubbed a suburban rail like those in Mumbai and Chennai. However, people in peripheral locations will gain if they start from Metro’s terminal stations since they will be able to switch to Metro to reach the city with improved multi-modal integration,” he said.
The civil work tender for the Byappanahalli-Chikkabanavara (Mallige) line was floated in November 2021 by Karnataka Rail Infrastructure Development Enterprises (K-RIDE), which is undertaking the suburban rail project (four corridors). Next, a tender for civil work in Heelalige-Rajankunte (Kanaka) will be issued.
However, the other two corridors KSR Bengaluru City-Devanahalli (Sampige) and Kengeri—Whitefield (Parijaata) which run parallel to Metro will be taken up only later. The Centre had indicated that the entire project would be finished in six years (2026) and the airport corridor (KSR Bengaluru City-Devanahalli) in three years when it was sanctioned in October 2020. (2023). Officials of K-RIDE have stated that their network will need to be expanded from the city limits to the periphery.
“This 148-kilometer network is just the beginning. We’ll need another 160-kilometre network to connect satellite towns in the following phase. Suburban rail will have air-conditioned carriages and stops, similar to Metro, but at a lower cost. “All four corridors will be finished in six years,” a government official stated.
By 2024, BMRCL intends to expand the network from 56 kilometres to 170-kilometres. “Suburban rail is a large public transportation system, so it cannot be considered a feeder service to Metro,” said Sanjeev Dyamannavar, a rail campaigner. While the Metro will have a station every 1km, suburban rail will only have a few. A Metro travels at 30 kilometres per hour, while a suburban travels at 60 to 80 kilometres per hour.
Suburban rail, unlike Metro, may use existing rail infrastructure to expand and can also operate non-AC trains.” “Bengaluru is not a monopoly of Namma Metro, and there should be different options for passengers,” said Rajkumar Dugar, founder and convener of Citizens for Citizens, an NGO. It all depends on who offers the cheapest and fastest solutions. The suburban rail’s airport corridor gained Centre approval nine months before the Metro’s KR Puram-KIA line, but it is not being prioritised owing to BMRCL pressure.”