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DRM's presentation (regarding Commuter Rail etc)

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Commuter RailPublic Transport

The following interesting points arose from the presentation made by the DRM (Divisional Rly Manager, Mr Akhil Agarwal), and the discussions that followed:


1) Track and platform capacity:
There are some 140 pairs of express (not all of them operating on all days of the week), and 90 pairs of passenger trains operating in and out of Bangalore (I am not sure I got the figures exact; but, they are around these). And, there is continuous pressure from the public to have them arrive/ depart during the peak hours (6 to 8 AM for arrival; 7 to 11 PM for departure).

As such, the tracks and platforms are too clttered presently to operate Commuter trains at desired timings.

Some stretches of tracks (particularly amongst the most busy ones like between Bangalore City and Byappanahally) are currently operating at over 150% capacity, allowing for 2.5 hrs maintenance breaks. Now, I must admit I didn't quite understand this fully, nor many others in the audience. For a non-IR man, 100% capacity would imply that he will then be seeing trains running throughout. But, apparently, IR has certain norms for determining the denominator based on safety and other aspects. Also, the DRM mentioned that unlike in coastal and level terrains like in Mumbai, they have to allow for higher safety factors in hilly terrains like in Bangalore, since the momentum of loaded rakes becomes a crucial factor here. During the discussions that followed, however, it appeared there could be a scope for reviewing these factors, and thereby increasing capacity. And, that's where, I believe, Devesh has requested technical help from PRAJAgalu.

2) Passenger (non-express) trains:
Another matter that became evident was the financial drag caused by the "passenger" (non-express) trains. The operations are totally uneconomical, and it is almost impossible to increase the fares because of vote bank politics. Most of them were introduced by various politicians to serve their respective constituencies, and then it became impossible to withdraw them. Some of them are well patronised (like the ones between Bangalore and Mysore), largely because of the low fares, compared to the bus fares.

And, there are plenty of them in operation eating into track and platform capacity, and during peak hours, denying the IR the opportunity to provide more revenue earning express and goods train services and thereby serve the public and economy better. The so-called social purpose of these operations thus becomes questionable.

An answer may be to offer all the regular commuters on these trains one year's free pass bus pass on KSRTC (paid for by IR), and then to withdraw these services altogether.


3) Additional tracks to Devenahalli:
While adding additional parallel tracks beyond Hebbal may not be difficult, doing that in the inner city is going to be extremely difficult.

4) Shifting of Bangalore City station:
There is no proposal to shift the Bangalore city station to Devanahalli.

Muralidhar Rao

Comments

idontspam's picture

Radical transformation

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IR will always be under a permanent Laloo effect. Listening to the DRM they will have their pulls and pressures from center leading to constant fights on train services. Witness the begging and fight we have to put up for inter city services and laying of tracks now. While we work out a revenue sharing arrangement with IR for using their land within the city (they have PPP model for cargo already) we should,  instead of fiddling with IR owned city railway station, create a separate railway hub in Devanahalli called Bengaluru Rail Hub (BRH) using standard guage (so it doesnt mix with Broad guage IR).

From here we run high speed (shinkansen type) trains to all major cities (Top 10?) in Karnataka. At 300KMPH even the farthest regions of the state will be within couple of hours reach. We can choose to run some key commuter services from BRH and allow IR to continue servicing the rest of the places and interstate traffic as they currently do from city, cant, ypr etc. This way when we take away some key traffic IR gets some breathing space to share rail space inside the city. 

The BRH will be either below or adjacent to the BIA and connected to each other via underground pathways with escalators and travelators. The HSRL will then connect both BIA Air and BRH Rail passengers to the city. The HSRL needs to be high speed about 180/200kmph so one can get to city within 20 mins otherwise it will frustrate everybody to wits end. The HSRL Itself can be underground from Minsk to BDA junction from where it can go overhead till the airport with stops at yelahanka, hebbal and minsk. Hebbal can become a hub for connections for north and west Bangalore. Minsk will be the hub for south and east Bangalore

Goes without saying the only thing govt will do is setup a good regulatory authority. Help in procuring land but have private party Build and Operate. If we are putting money on HSRL might as well go the whole hog and make the whole thing count. 

What say folks?

Here is something to whet your appetite. This is westbound Nozomi 500 passing by Shin-Iwakuni station at 300KMPH

The AGV (360KMPH) successor to the French TGV will change our perception of trains

s_yajaman's picture

IDS - Economics won't work out

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IDS,

Was just scanning the net for these bullet train plans and IR has been talking this for a long time without any action.  There is possible a very good reason for it. 

Investment per km can run as high as Rs.60 crores (I am not sure if this includes rolling stock and signaling and new stations,  etc).  So for a Bangalore-Hubli line we are talking Rs. 24000 crores at the very least  For a Bangalore-Bellary-Gulbarga line we are talkign another 60000 crores.  Where do we get this sort of money from?  Given our sad state of human development indices (literacy, maternal mortality, infant mortality, teacher-student ratios in schools) how do we justify investment on these magnitudes for bullet trains?

Next - do we have enough people who can afford to travel on such trains on a daily basis?  Once you put in such expensive track and rolling stock, you have to run them 16 hrs a day.  In Japan, bullets run every 6 minutes at peak hours between Tokyo and Osaka.  Many of these are 16 coach trains carrying 1600 people.  My round trip from Shin-Kobe to Hiroshima cost me 20000Y or rs.10000.  Even if a round trip to Hubli cost Rs.5000 will there be demand? 

If there really is a need for people to zip from Bangalore to Hubli and Gulbarga in 2 hrs there is a thing called a plane.  The investments needed are far lesser and HAL Airport can be used.  Strange coming from me this - but I cannot see the wisdom of 1000s of crores being spent on bullet trains inside Karnataka. 

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

idontspam's picture

Economics of bulet trains

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Srivathsa, we said the same thing about tolled roads nobody will come. We said the same about short haul flights nobody will need. It has to be done on PPP mode. Private party puts the money and build these and runs them.

I dont have numbers but if there is not a demand for every 6 mins there will be for every hour. You may not need 10 lines may be 4 with stops to connect these towns. I am looking at longer term benefits. Economy of these towns connected will increase people will dare to put up industries elsewhere knowing the international airport and the state capital can be reached relatively quickly by workers. The kind of prosperity roads have bought us will be doubled by train only.
s_yajaman's picture

But Bullet Trains?

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IDS,

JR loses billions each year in running the Shinkansen.  The funds and operating costs don't change just because a private party puts in the money.  Just for comparison the entire GQ project cost rs.20000 crores.

I like your idea in general that we need to have a good rail network in Karnataka with high speed trains.  Our current trains average 50-60 kmph thanks to single line operation for the most part and tracks that cannot handle more than 110 kmph.  Hubli should not be more than 3.5 hrs by train in this day and age. 

The economy of those towns is suffering IMHO because of other big problems - local infrastructure (schools, hospitals, employable workforce, power, water) more than their apparent distance to Bangalore and the international airport. 

Srivathsa

 

 

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

Vasanth's picture

Exactly Srivatsa

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Samething came to my mind when I read the posting.

Currently railways is serving poor and the lower middleclass very well irrespective of whatever politics and whatever economics it may be. A train travel for example in a passenger costs only 22 rupees covering distance in 3hrs 15 minutes whereas a non-stop bus takes 3 hours ideally and sometimes more based on traffic scenario and costs whooping 83 rupees. A non-stop train travel costs 55 rupees and a Volvo costs 225 rupees taking 2hrs 15 minutes. Only downside is the buses are available anytime you goto bus stop but one has to plan for the train travel in advance and in Bangalore reaching the Bangalore station.

Those people who cannot afford high costs of buses are using train services and it is a boon to them.

This can improve further by track doubling and electrification. Investments for track doubling and electrification itself is not getting allocated, it gets postponed every year after year. Then comes the train timings which is not scheduled properly for most of the cities and as per  public convenience.  There needs a lot of tweaking of the existing infrastructure, timings, facilities which itself can serve far better rather than massive infrastructure. Delhi - Bhopal trains, Delhi-Chandigarh trains operate at 150kph, whereas we donot have lines to operate at such speeds in Karnataka limiting to 100-110. 

Massive investment in high speed infrastructure will not pay off within Karnataka. Volvo buses run to many tier 2 cities itself run empty despite of the high speed they achieve compared to normal buses. Shatabdi between Bangalore-Mysore runs only half of its capacity.

 

 

Devesh's picture

High Speed vs Bullet trains

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I like your idea in general that we need to have a good rail network in Karnataka with high speed trains.  Our current trains average 50-60 kmph thanks to single line operation for the most part and tracks that cannot handle more than 110 kmph.  Hubli should not be more than 3.5 hrs by train in this day and age

I agree Srivathsa. Bullet trains will require a completely new track infrastructure, and that will be expensive as hell.

High speed trains are the answer. Shatabdi's can average over 100kmph. In fact the Delhi - Bhopal Shatabdi covers the 195km from New Delhi to Agra in 2:05, 313km to Gwalior 3:25. In fact the train slows down after Gwalior (of Madhav Rao Scindhia ex Railways minister), due to poor track. Compare that to Chennai Bangalore 361km in 5 hours.

Chennai should be 3 hours, Hyderabad 5, Hubli 4. We do not need a 300kmph train for that.

Even if the train is built, every politician will demand a stop in his own home station. :)

-----------------------

Regards

Devesh R. Agarwal

Visit my aviation blog at http://aviation.deveshagarwal.com

-----------------------
Regards
Devesh
Bangalore Aviation
Enjoy life, destroy FUD
Devesh's picture

DRMs presentation

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For a non-IR man, 100% capacity would imply that he will then be seeing trains running throughout. But, apparently, IR has certain norms for determining the denominator based on safety and other aspects. Also, the DRM mentioned that unlike in coastal and level terrains like in Mumbai, they have to allow for higher safety factors in hilly terrains like in Bangalore, since the momentum of loaded rakes becomes a crucial factor here.

Murali, railways globally use a system of blocks. No two trains can be in the same block at the same time. In am not a railways guru, but I understand, depending on a type of signalling, command and control (read cabins), the blocks can range from very small, to quite large. But what I did not understand is that DRM indicated the section from Bangalore Byapanahalli to Jolarpettai. That is one huge block. I think it is time IR starting segmenting their urban, semi-urban, and rural blocks.

During the discussions that followed, however, it appeared there could be a scope for reviewing these factors, and thereby increasing capacity. And, that's where, I believe, Devesh has requested technical help from PRAJAgalu.

Yes!!!.  Thank you for putting it so succinctly.

-----------------------

Regards

Devesh R. Agarwal

-----------------------
Regards
Devesh
Bangalore Aviation
Enjoy life, destroy FUD
bialterminal's picture

safety first, speed later

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First off, I definitely think upgrading current infractructure (technology, rolling stock, tracks) to 200kmph speeds and running point to point non stops without political interference demanding stops in umpteen places will go a long way in providing good cost effective high speed trains in lieu of bullet trains at least as part of a first phase.

Secondly, I would like to crosspost an article that I posted in SSC yesterday (http://www.skyscrapercity...). Here is a complete text of my post from the SSC railways thread about safety (without improving safety we will have a disaster on our hands if we introduce high speed trains on IR) -


What can be done to prevent such incidents (please read the TOI article below)? If the current technology is not upgraded and safety not improved, bullet trains would be a disaster. Luckily in this incident nothing happened other than the engine being slightly damaged Quote: BHADOI (UP): Varanasi-bound Kashi Vishwanath Express rammed into a stationary goods train at Janghari railway junction, 30 kilometres from here, early on Tuesday. The incident occurred when the Kashi Vishwanath Express was coming from New Delhi and went on the same track on which the goods train was stationed, Railway Protection Force sources said. There is no report of casualty in the collision, sources said, adding however, the engine of the express train was damaged in the incident. source - http://timesofindia.india...
idontspam's picture

Bullet train profitability

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"JR loses billions each year in running the Shinkansen"

Taiwan bullet train breaks even in its first 18 months

idontspam's picture

Pilferage or Broke?

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"Given our sad state of human development indices (literacy, maternal mortality, infant mortality, teacher-student ratios in schools) how do we justify investment on these magnitudes for bullet trains?"

May be its time to look at the assets raided by lokayukta over the years to see why we are so pathetic in the above aspects.

idontspam's picture

Not for India? Read this...

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 " Bullet trains will require a completely new track infrastructure, and that will be expensive as hell."

While the total expenditure on the 66-km Delhi Metro was Rs.105 billion, the entire 500-odd km high-speed train system between Ahmedabad and Mumbai would cost Rs.350 billion. Further, the benefits of such a system would far outweigh the cost, officials say.

Feasibility study in India done by railways already

s_yajaman's picture

How Taiwan does it

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"The government is going to try to assure profitability by shutting down several express trains on the ordinary lines, forcing customers to the bullet trains. I suspect this is because, as many will find out, a passenger on the bullet trains is going to take about the same amount of time to get from point A to point B as he would have on the ordinary train. Most of Taiwan's train stations are centrally located and accessible from anywhere in the city. The bullet train stations, by contrast, are in areas far from the city center. The real justification for the bullet train lies here"....
 

This is from a blog  I don't know how reliable this site is though http://michaelturton.blogspot.com/2006/12/bullet-train-to-turn-profit-within-24.html

It cost them $15B to build this 350 km line - I guess including rolling stock as well.  The train carries about 100,000 passengers per day each paying about 40USD for a one-way journey - not too expensive considering we pay USD20 for a Executive Chair Car ticket to Madras from here. 

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

narayan82's picture

Slow and Steady wins the race!

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I agree with Srivatsa - Bullet Train is too much investment.

GIven our track record with infrastructre projects (Excuse the Pun) - anything which requires a large amount of investment is going to run into corruption and delays!

What we need to do is give our existing railways a HUGE facelift. One option would be to privatise certain areas. Some examples I can think of are:

  • Station maintainence: The Platforms/Station can be leased out to a private party on an annual contract. This party can use Advertising and maybe collect a small UDF from A/C passengers (Say RS 50/-) as income. Or myabe then can be allowed vendor rights in the station. They are responsible for upkeep, hygene and overall cleanliness as well as service. Hence they would control porters, parking and wheelchairs etc etc. If we can have a profitable parking system like at BIAL - why cant we have one at the railway station too? Why not offer trolleys like the airport to those traveling by train?
     
  • In Train Maintainance: We really need new toilets on trains. Dumping the dump between the tracks is an age old system that HAS to be changed. For that we need its relevant infrastructure at the stations! If basic items such as the coaches, the window ledges and the floors could be cleaner I am sure IR will be respected in much higher standards.

    Again, Privatisation here has begun (With the kurkure express), but I do hope it takes off into something much more successful.
     
  • Access to railway stations: We dont mind spending 1000s of crores on a HSRL to an airport, but we hardly have a bus that takes us in front of the railway station. if you have a lot of luggage, and you want to take a volvo you have to lug it from the KBS station to the Railway station. How come not a single flyover/underpass/multi storey car park has come up close to City or Cantt? Getting on a train (with luggage) means Auto or car right now! Why not have a scheme as peaceful as the Meru/Easycab Line at BIAL outside City/Cantt? Why is it that if Fly i dont have to haggle with a Auto Driver, but if I take train the jounrye is a haggle all the way home!
     
  • Tie up with Air/Bus: This to me is a untapped money making op! Ticketing should be made multi-modal. Image KF and Jet Airways (perhaps) tied up with IR so you could book a  Mysore-Bangkok ticket at one go! Or you coudl book a Hubli - London ticket at one go! Alternatively, KSRTC could tie up and offer journeys such as Ooty/Connor - Delhi or Kodaikanal - Hyderabad and maybe even Tumkur to Kanyakumari!

    An earlier idea I suggested was to run the Mysore Chennai Shatabdi via the Devannahalli Airport (Once the station is built there.) this way Mysore can access Devanahalli/BIAL easily.

I hear IR is planning to build a spanking new station at Byappanahalli with a Chinese consorium! They could really start by sprucinng up Cantt and City to bring it to a much higher level of comfort. I think that is far more dire in need than a brand new Railway station.

I hope IR pulls up its socks and offers us some change.

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore
idontspam's picture

Can be cheaper in India

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If it can cost USD15 Bil in Taiwan I bet we can do it cheaper. Isnt that our business model in the export oriented industries anyway? If we can get benefit in high cost white collar work it should be better on blue collar jobs.

Here are some routes GoK can consider for bullet train point to point links which may never be serviced by IR's high speed train plan.

1. Bangalore to Belgaum thru Dharwad (strategic importance now)
2. Bangalore to Gulbarga via Bellary (rich route will break even faster, It will even take Hyd traffic)
3. Bangalore to Mangalore via Hassan (tourist and port route)

Important also to consider the benefits that will accrue to the job market, restructuring of the traffic pattern within and around Bangalore

idontspam's picture

IR priorities

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"An earlier idea I suggested was to run the Mysore Chennai Shatabdi via the Devannahalli Airport (Once the station is built there.) this way Mysore can access Devanahalli/BIAL easily. "

You have summarized one of the objectives of my post. Restructuring the traffic pattern around Bangalore for longer term benefit. How are we (not BIAL) leveraging our investment in Devanhalli. What are the possibilities for the future without destroying what exists.

There is this balance between what we get from IR as a central organization and what we have to do ourselves. We are putting all our eggs in the IR basket. Do we know their priorities and constraints? If we are engaging today on CRS how much will we get? A daily train at the most beyond hebbal to timbuktoo? How far will they go? I would be happy if we can get all what you have suggested in city but is that taking care of the future?

Vasanth's picture

Karnataka is behind compared to other states

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Total rail network in Karnataka is very less, compared to other states of India especially Northern India. First priority is to match up with other states in terms of Network, Doubling and Electrification. Railways is a purely mass transit. It serves those who cannot travel without it - The poor and the needy, the daily commuter.

A high speed rail on the other hand may or may not be used. Some may prefer Air over Highspeed rail, others might think the other way.  This is more or less like running Vajras or Volvos of BMTC. It may or may not succeed on running on few routes, whereas a normal bus always has got the passengers. Class of people for whom Vajras are run have got alternatives in terms of their personal cars, two wheelers. There are many who cannot afford vehicles, they all travel in BMTC normal buses.

The urgent priorities of Karnataka are:

1. Hassan - Bangalore direct connectivity (long pending and suffering because of lack of funds)

2. Mysore - Mercara

3. Chamarajnagar - Mettupalyam ( Long pending for direct connectivity of Bangalore to Kerala via Mysore which cuts the travel time).

4. Tumkur - Bangalore track doubling

5. Mysore - Bangalore track doubling and Electrification

6. Increase the frequency of trains for Mangalore

7. New Track connecting Kanakapura, Kollegal, Chamarajnagar.

8. Track doubling, Electrification and speed increasing on the Bangalore - Guntkal section which carries most of the important trains like Udyan, Hyderabad bound trains, Karnataka Express, Rajadhani Express and Sampark Kranthi Express.

There are so many basic requirements which are not provided to Karnataka. Delhi - Agra 192 kms is covered in 2 hours whereas Bangalore - Mysore Shatabdi takes 2 hrs to cover 140 kms because of the lack of proper tracks. Our track density is literally half compared to our neighbouring state Tamil Nadu. Just now we got a new zone SWR which has to work hard and try hard to get the funds.

Electrification and Double Tracks are almost nill in Karnataka. except for the Chennai Bound trains. Even when these basic requirements of Karnataka are not met, we are thinking of high speed for Elite class of passengers. If this is a BOT, then okay just like HSRL to Devanahalli. Otherwise it will run empty other than weekend Elite class passengers not justifying the investment.

 

 

idontspam's picture

IR Stepmother

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"There are so many basic requirements which are not provided to Karnataka"

That is my point really why we need to lay lines.

"Electrification and Double Tracks are almost nill in Karnataka."

If land is available for doubling lease it from IR run state of the art trains. instead of the bogies which have not seen a redesign since independence. 

"we are thinking of high speed for Elite class of passengers."

Travelling on fast trains is not the prerogative of elite people. 

"Otherwise it will run empty other than weekend Elite class passengers not justifying the investment"

Which route and at what frequency are we talking about. This is a generic statement. Feasibility sutdies need to be carried out to determine the route then only such conclusions can be made. Even then for economically productive routes viability gap funding on PPP can be worked out.

 If this is a BOT, then okay

How can all the problems you have mentioned be solved if it becomes BOT (I assume you mean PPP or private).

 

Vasanth's picture

Additional Line from Yeshwantpur or Byappanahalli to Devanahalli

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Additional line from Yeshwantpur or Byappanahalli to Devanahalli with linking to Metro at Byappanahalli / Yeshwantpur can be considered as heard by DRM. With so many townships coming around Devanahalli and even almost reaching till Chikkaballapur will improve the access especially during peak hours.

Again, if there is a BOT operator, go for the HSRL as said by Devesh. If not this option can be considered. If Railways says it cannot, and there is no HSRL, Yelahanka Metro of Phase 2 can be considered for extension till Devanahalli .

 

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