If all goes well, Bengalureans should get last-mile connectivity to various key destinations in the city in a couple of years. The 2020 Union budget has allocated Rs. 18,600 crore for the Bengaluru suburban railway, and the latest update is that K-RIDE (Rail infrastructure Development Company (Karnataka) Limited) has floated a tender for the land survey.
The suburban rail network will operate in four corridors spread over 148.17 km and fares will be based on the metro model. Train services will be from 5 am to midnight daily, benefiting lakhs of commuters travelling within Bengaluru and the surrounding areas.
According to the Railways, the tender calls for the survey, identification and investigation of underground, overground and overhead utilities and structures using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR).
The four corridors will be Kengeri-Whitefield, KSR Bengaluru railway station-Devenahalli via Yeshwantpur (connectivity will be provided to the International Airport also), Chikkabanawara- Baiyyappanahalli and Heelalige-Rajankunt. The suburban service will interface with rail and metro stations at many locations.
The much-awaited link to the airport will be 5.5 km, with about 0.5 km elevated and an elevated station at the airport premises. The cost of airport connectivity will be around Rs. 251 crore and the land required is around 15 acres. As of now, SWR runs trains from KSR to Devanahalli Halt, and the airport operator runs a shuttle bus service for suburban rail users.
However, rail activists say a big miss in the tender is that Baiyappanahalli is not an interchange. They say a lot of land available at Baiyappanahalli cabin can be used for an interchange.
With this, Bengaluru will follow Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Secunderabad in having a suburban rail network. The project got the nod from the Railway Board inNovember 2019 and was awaiting approval from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). Due to the delay, implementing agency K-RIDE was also going slow on setting up a team of experts to kickstart the project.
KSR-Devanahalli – 41.40 km of which 18.98 km elevated (15 stations of which 7 elevated).