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CRS Bangalore: A project that never gets the green

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Public Transport

The railway budget 08-09 is out. The fares are down. Plea for Bangalore-Arsikere-Mangalore is left un-answered, but we have been blessed with a handful of other trains instead. Also featured in the new budget are more half hearted promises on the same old projects that have been on simmer since more than a decade now (be done with the Gulbarga Bidar line already). As far as Bangalore, in and by itself is concerned, the CRS finds no mention in the 08-09 budget. With this two years would have passed in the Comprehensive Traffic and Transport Plan's Phase I(07-12) with no action on the 204 km CRS project.

We have how-to-get-there problems in all directions - EC, Devanahalli, ITPL, Peenya ... Of the all the plans we have - BRTS, Metro & Mono, the CRS is the cheapest one(15 cr/km) and requires comparatively very little extra to be done. And yet, we have been hearing about this CRS for ages now with no action to match. Why?

In its entirety, the CRS project aims to cover Bangalore's satellite towns and would require 3500 crores in investments in doubling the tracks and electrification on some sections, rolling stock, improvements to stations and ROBS/RUBS. (This is for 204 kms of service, compare with metro costs for 33 kms).

But all the CRS corridors already have atleast one track & the basic stations are there. Given the level of congestion we have, should we wait till every thing else - the double tracks, electrification and the rest of the bells and whistles, all fall in place? In any case one would imagine that even if they take one dedicated year and put in the money to add a few extra facilities to stations at Cant, Y'pur & Whitefield, create a small station at Devanahalli - "BIAL-Rd" and obtain coaches that could mean significant addition to public transport in Bangalore.

So, who should take the inititiative on this? The latest plan we have, the CTTP, reccomends that this be a joint project between the railways and the state government with BMRDA to play act as implementing agency. Railways to pay for railway related infrastructure including rolling stock and O&M( approx one third of the project cost), GoK to cover the cost of expansion of stations, and additional tracks (approx third of the project cost) and BMRDAto cover cost of access roads, parking facilities and passenger facilities (one third of the project cost). Is the monolithic structure of the railways with no sensitivity to local needs that is responsible or is it that failures in Chennai and Hyderabad have made railways vary of intracity projects? or is it the lethargy of local agencies, GoK, BMRDA, SWR that is responsible for lack of any progress wrt CRS?

Table: CRS Plan From The CTTP

Corridor
Length
km
Unit Cost
per Km
Total Cost
(Rs. Cr.)
Phase-I
2007-12
Phase-II
2013- 18
Phase-III
2019- 24
SBC-Kengeri
13
15
195
195
   
Kengeri- BMA Boundary 9 15 135 135    
BMA Boundary- Ramanagaram 23 15 345   345
 
SBC -Whitefield
24
15
360
360 360
 
SBC – Lottegollahalli -Baiyyappanahalli
23
15
345
  345
 
Lottegollahalli - Yelahanka
7
15
105
  105
 
Banaswadi - BMA Boundary
29
15
435
  435
 
BMA Boundary - Hosur 12 15 180   180  
Yeshwantpur to BMA Boundary
14
15
210
  210
 
BMA Boundary - Tumkur 50
15
750
  750
750
  204
  3060
690
1620
750
             

Comments

tsubba's picture

CRS

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cadambi thanks for that link. Prof. Srihari has been doing a lot of thinking for the public.

this plan has been around forever now. but lets forget about the past, even with the current plan, two years have passed in the plan calendar and there is no movement towards solution. i wonder what it is that the state government is sitting on.

here are a few links that have discussions on CRS...

http://bangalore.praja.in...
http://bangalore.praja.in...
http://bangalore.praja.in...
http://bangalore.praja.in...

one quick way to find discussions on this to search for "vasanth" and follow his trail.

i was looking for a post by a railway engineer could not find it. any body book marked it?

need to create book, like the one for airport on CRS discussions.

subba,  The SBC -

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subba,

 The SBC - Malleswaram - Yeshwantpur line can easily be extended up to Kodigehalli - near Yelahanka and then a link can be established to the Devanahalli airport

 Kodigehalli is not that far from the airport and within a budget of say Rs. 100 - Rs. 500 Crores ; one can easily establish a daily high frequency train from SBC to the new airport

sivanandas's picture

CRS - a vital need for improving Bangalore traffic

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Yet again, the rlwy budget only provided a few trains and extended a few more for Bangalore and Karnataka in general. Infrastructural requirements are offered paltry sums. Thus, its not a surprise that railway projects in Karnataka take the order of decades for seeing daylight. And, this is irrespective of whether there is a government in place or not.

The state again has to rely on internal budgets to continue on its projects. And wrt our dear Bangalore, it continues to grow with more vehicles and more traffic jams.

While Metro is expected some day, it is not understable as to why the CRS is never considered. Prof. Sreehari has made excellent comment about its usefulness. CTTP talks about its economic viability. But, there is no reaction from the concerned authorities on taking this up.

Irrespective of elections being held sooner or later, and a (stable) government realization expected to take time, may we request the respected governor and his able advisories to initiate action on this much wanted project ASAP. This could be the most valuable gift for Bangalore which could transform the traffic scenario of Bangalore and will definitely earn him a lot of goodwill.

What is more, the CRS

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What is more, the CRS will not compete with the metro, but be complementary to it as envisaged by Prof M N Srihari
Mithun's picture

railway track

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Hi, After reading the reply by cadambi about the Kodigehalli railway track, I checked it out in Wikimapia. There indeed is a railway track which goes very close to the area marked as 'Bangalore International airport'. This track has come thru Yelahanka. Is this what you are suggesting, cadambi? If so, then this seems to be an option worth exploring. Mithun
tsubba's picture

crs

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mithun you are right that exactly what cadambi has pointed out. the airport terminal would be around 4 kms from that point. shiv & cadambi agree about the importance of this project. if done properply, this will simply multiply the area covered under public transport. perhaps we need to send a representation to the guv, mr. baligar and DM, SWR (Mr. Mangal?). i was trying to figure what exactly is needed to make CRS work. and what a minimum configuration to get started. and what are the constraints. will get back later.
Vasanth's picture

Our MLAs and MPs are to be blamed for Railway Budget

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Our MLAs and MPs do not have proper agenda to put forth in front of Railway Minister. They do not know the problems of trains since they travel in their luxury Cars and SUVs. We should have a proper list of objectives in the 1st half of the year and put forth in front of Railway Minister to get approval in the 2nd half of the year.

Our MLAs and MPs do not do this, only after Railway Budget is presented, they keep shouting and announcing in front of different media saying "Karnatakakke Anyayavagidhe" and their followers will burn the image of Railway Minister. These MLAs and MPs are to be blamed since they didn't do followup work with Railway Minister - To save their skin they put the ball in the court of Railway Minister. I saw this is not only in Karnataka, all the states does the same. I was surfing through different channels, even Maharashtra which has got extensive network has the same problem. Chief Minister of Maharashtra was saying the same thing.

First and foremost thing is we should have a volunteers committe who really travel in trains and know the problems of the train travel and knows what is needed instead of unuseful and impractical demands. Based on those demands our representatives(MLAs and MPs)  should have an agenda to put forth in front of railway minister.

Without any tangible

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Without any tangible incentives, no one works. This is a universal law of management and India is no different from being a subject to that law. Since the railways is now considering allowing greater private sector participation, why not implement the CRS under PPP model, much like the new BIAL?
tsubba's picture

CRS-lite?

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We might see a very limited version of the CRS afterall.
Focus on existing rail line to Devanahalli
TNN, March 06, 2008
Forget the high-speed rail corridor connecting the city centre to Devanahalli. That will take some time in coming. It might be possible to reach the new international airport by train in 45 minutes paying less than Rs 30. What are the authorities doing with the existing railway line along National Highway 7?

The mega projects conceived to provide connectivity to the new airport will require not less than two to three years to become operational. Planners have, therefore, suggested making use of the existing railway corridor.

The proposed train between Chikballapur and Bangalore city will be taken up as a priority. Two trains run between the city and Chikkaballapur and these trains can be utilized if there is a demand,’’ divisional manager of Southwestern Railway, Mahesh Mangal, told TOI.

At present, a train is operational between Bangalore city and Chikballapur with a halt at Dodda Jala, situated about 4.5 km from the international airport. The railways will start an additional train between Chikballapur and Yelahanka. However, the official clarified that the existing infrastructure cannot support separate train services between the airport and the city. “Any kind of connectivity requires a frequency which is not possible with the present infrastructure. The idea can be implemented only if the infrastructure is upgraded,’’ Mangal said.

But traffic planners see it the other way. “The track between the city and Chikballapur does not handle much of the trains. At fixed intervals, there can be trains from Devanahalli to Bangalore. It requires minimal infrastructure. Moreover, about two km of railway line abuts the compound wall of Devanahalli airport,’’ explained chairman of Traffic Engineering and Safety Trainer (TEST), M N Srihari.

TRACK RECORD
Before 1980s, Bangalore and Bangarpet were connected with a narrow gauge railway track connecting Yelahanka, Devanahalli, Kolar and KGF.
In the late 80s, the track between Bangalore and Yelahanka was dismantled for gauge conversion.
Till 1995-96 a narrow gauge track between Yelahanka and Kolar existed which was upgraded in 2000.
There are two existing railway lines to reach the international airport.
One route starts from Bangalore city railway station and reaches Yelahanka going past Cantonment, Bangalore East, Byappanahalli.
The second route starts from Bangalore city and joins Yelahanka, passing through Malleswaram and Yeshwanthpur.
At the trumpet interchange that BIAL is building, the track runs along the airport wall for two km. A new track of two km is required to connect this to the airport terminal.


Actually, long time back Naveen had spoken about the issue of frequency. He had then pointed out that ROB/RUB would be needed if the trains are to run at high frequency. Otherwise traffic in the city will be effected.

A few days ago I was checking the CTTP about ROB/RUB. CTTP proposes 18 new ROB/RUBs. But from what I could figure out only two of them are between yeshwantpura and doddajaala. One of them on MES road and the other at kodigehalli railway station.

can they use these magic boxes for these get it done? or atleast some pre-cast tech?

But what dissapoints me is the attitude of Mr. Mangal. He has 70% of what he needs already instead of being proactive and seizing an initiative, he is still thinking in the "If there is demand" mindset. And this after all the noise we have had about airport connectivity for more than a year now.


tsubba's picture

CRS: More on Railway's Take on the issue

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from a bangalore360 article in Deccan herald http://www.deccanherald.c... On the proposed Commuter Rail corridors, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of the Bangalore division of South Western Railway Mr Mahesh Mangal says, “Most of these proposals are not feasible at all. There is neither line capacity nor terminal capacity to operate more trains.” As the City railway station was bursting at its seams, Yeshwantpur was made another terminal; even that has become full now. Byapannahalli is now being looked at as the next terminal. “There are many long distance trains being added with every passing year. So, there is no question of using the existing capacity to introduce more trains for short distances in and around the City.” Doubling work is presently being undertaken from Bangalore up to Tumkur and Ramnagaram. “As of now, the Commuter Rail corridor proposed from BMA boundary to Ramanagaram and to Tumkur appear to be the only ones possible.” If a separate dedicated lane is constructed only for these suburban routes, then there is some solution, Mangal added. Another top railway official calls for the construction of a four-lane track from Bangalore to Bangarpet, Bangalore to Whitefields, Bangalore to Byappanahalli and Bangalore to Hosur. “This would help in tackling passenger traffic in a big way.”

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