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Bangalore Airport: The CRS Option

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With the new airport set to open, ideas on how to get there have flown thick and fast. Here are some thoughts on leveraging the existing rail network. Last mile problem Airport Side: As things exist, from Devanahalli railway station to airport terminal it is approximately 2 kms south on the NH to the trumphet junction and then 4 kms east on the main access road to the terminal. i.e., roughly 6 kms. A new BIAL station around trumphet on the NH will save 2 kms. But in both these cases, there is a last mile problem. You have to bus people from and to train station. This disconnects the airport from the rest of the city. The journey to airport does not end till you have taken the bus. And the journey back home does not begin till you have reached the railway station. For airport connectivity to work, the station must be right at the terminal. Not near it, not around it, it must be right there. And so, on the airport side, the last mile problem can only be solved by adding a 4-5 kms line to the existing railway line and run it all the way to the terminal. City side: The reachability constraints are slightly relaxed on the city side. But even here the connectivity ought to be deep and wide. Something like a greenfield station and line to Hebbal station(Vasant) will not work, because more than the bottleneck due to the single connecting NH it is the distance that raises connectivity issues and Hebbal is in the middle of nowhere in this respect. Recently, SWR said that they would make Byappanahalli a major terminal. So we will have three major terminals Yeshwanthpura, SBC & Byappanahalli on the city side that will prolly catch traffic from and to West-Central-East nodes. That is fine. But even here Byappanahalli will be a green field station and will have to be developed. Even at SBC and Yeshwanthpura, the logistics of platform assignment are not favourable to local transit. Currently, at SBC, the nearest thing we have to local trains - Mysore lines - use the northern most platforms. Prime southern platforms are reserved for railway's presitgious trains. Another problem with rail-based system is frequency*. It is probably not possible to achieve a half an hour frequency (Vasanth) while sharing the track with railways. Especially on the line that passes through Devanahalli, because it is part of atleast 9 important railway routes many of which have daily services. And there is already talk of SBC being saturated, necessitating opening up Yeshwantpura and Byappanahalli. But the most critical problem is scalability. It will be difficult to grow this network as Bangalore grows. Even as of now, with CRS, there is no hope of it ever reaching southern and southeastern areas of Bangalore. Thus killing the potential of door to door connectivity to a significant parts of Bangalore. Metro represents the only true hope primarily because it is an independent,, city owned and city centric network that can react and respond to the needs of the city. *If any readers know how to estimate the number of trains/ hour that travel through the devanahalli line or about the frequency of arrival and departures at SBC and Yeshwanthpura that are possible, please respond.

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