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UPDATE: Commuter Rail Article

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Commuter RailPublic Transport

Hi Everyone,

My name is Nisha and I'm writing an article on the commuter rail for IJanaagraha.  I have a few questions for this community.  If you can answer a few that would be really helpful.

Hi Everyone,

My name is Nisha and I'm writing an article on the commuter rail for IJanaagraha.  I have a few questions for this community.  If you can answer a few that would be really helpful.

How did the campaign get started?
Why do you think people really identified with it?
What were the major issues communicating opinions to the governing bodies?
Why do you think the commuter rail didn't get built?

Any answers will be very helpful.

Thank you! If you have any questions feel free to put them in the comments or email me at

UPDATE: Thank you all so much your answers have been so helpful! One more question. What has the response been to the Namma Railu Campaign from government officials?  Have they been responsive to the campaign in a positive or negative way? Do you feel like they are listening to you?

What have you learned about the process of government from this campaign?


Sanjeev's picture

Hello Nisha,  Its nice to

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Hello Nisha, 

Its nice to know that you will be writing article on Commuter Rail Campaign.

Kindly go thru' the report on Commuter Rail Call to Action report which was  released in July'2010 and RTI to SWR for Commuter Rail.

Events that had been held for Commuter Rail are summarized  in Memo to MoS for Railways K H Muniyyappa.  These should give you all required details on Commuter Rail for Bangalore.

How did the campaign get started?

The concept of Commuter Rail  ( Suburban Trains ) for Bangalore demand exists since 25 Years. In  CTTP 2007,  stress was given for Commuter Rail.  From Praja,  online discussion were happening last two years.  We took it up seriously in Feb / March 2010

It all started with Praja Team going on a trips from  Yesvantpur to Hosur on 9th May & 31st July  using the newly introduce passenger train from Yeshwantpur to Hosur

Meeting with Mr V Madhu / IDD on 20th May'2010 at his office to get the status on Commuter Rail. Then Prof Sitaram / CiSTUP - IISc extended full support for the Commuter Rail Bangalore since June 2010. 

This  is how Namma Railu team  from Praja went arround meeting GoK officials in IDD, DULT, Round Table Conference at IISc on 30th Aug'10,  meeting with CS / GoK on 23rd Sept'10.

Why do you think people really identified with it?

As the Commuter Rail will cover BMRDA region with other Districts like Chikballapur, Tumkur, Ramanagaram and this is easy to implement and utilize the infrastructure & expertise of Indin Railways to provide efficient, affordable, reliable & qick  public Transport solution for Bangalore traffic problems.  Also major cities in India like Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Kolkotta, Pune are already having this facility from Indian Railways.

 Regarding the Communicating to governing Bodies

As GoK & SWR have different goals on Railway perspective & hardly any co-ordination exists between State & Center on Railway Projects in Karnataka, this is one of the big  hurdle to take off the Commuter Railu. The GoK officials feel conflicting interests due to BMTC,  upcoming METRO, HSRL and they think that Commuter Rail will  be competition to these other modes of Transport. In Practical, Commuter Rail will do the feeding to these BMTC,  METRO & HSRL,  this combination of BMTC, METRO & Commuter Rail will be win-win situation for City Planners and Citizens using Public Transport system.

There are many reasons for Commuter Rail not taking off till today.

  • Its lack of Will from GoK and Indian Railways to provide urban Transport thru Rail.
  • Priority gien to HSRL, Mono Rail, Road Widening  & METRO in Bangalore and Commuter Rail has not got due importance from GoK & CM too.
  • There are lot of conflicting interest in GoK due to which as such bold decision are not been taken from GoK in this issue.
  • Due to uncertainty in Karnataka Politics since 2004 after SM Krishna period,  due to this Commuter Rail was not taken seriously from State & Center. 

Hope these inputs should  help you to make report on Commuter Railu. 

Hope you bring more awareness to public on Commuter Rail and  try to speak to GoK officials, SWR to get their latest status.

Sanjeev V Dyamannavar  

kbsyed61's picture

CRS Journey So Far!

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Sanjeev's comment has answered all of your questions. In addition, here is the timeline representing the Namma Railu journey so far.

1. Discussions started in 2008

2.Praja Train Trip to Hosur on YH-1 - 8th May, 2010

3. Meeting with IDD/GOK Chief Mr. Madhu - 20th May 2010

4. Crowdsourcing and Report Preparation - June, 2010 to August, 2010

5. Round Table Event at CiSTUP - August 30, 2010

6. TOR Drafted and submitted to CiSTUP and IDD - 15th Sept, 2010

7. GOK Cheif Secretary meet with all the departments including SWR, IDD, Transport departments etc. -

8.Support from Bangalore Chamber of Commerce and industries (BCIC).

9. Report and BCIC recommendation submitted to Railway Board - Nov, 2010

10. One-on-One meeting with SWR DGM Sudhanshu Mani - 12th Nov, 2010

11. DULT's meeting to prepare for meeting with Railway board's executiev director planning - 16th Dec, 2010

13. Met with Tumkur MP, Mr. Basavaraj and his team for his support - 26th Jan, 2011

14. Met with Minsiter Of Sate for Raiwlays Mr. Muniyappa and have submitted a memo - 27th Dec, 2010

15. Met with Rajya Sabha Depty Chief, Rahman Khan for his support - 29th Jan, 2011

16. Sent personal letters to MP Venkaiah Naidu, Law Minister Mr. Veerappa Moily and External Affairs Minister Mr. S M Krishna for their support - Jan 28th, 2011

17. Emails to MP Rajeev Chandrashekar for his support - Feb 2, 2011


kbsyed61's picture

CRS Online Poll/Survey!

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You may want to look at the results of the 'Online Poll/Survey' that was carried on PRAJA in the run up to the Namma Railu Campaign.



idontspam's picture

Let me take a stab at some of

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Let me take a stab at some of these

Why do you think people really identified with it?

IR tracks have attracted destinations over long period of time as that has been the only mode of long distance connect since 1853. Cities & activities have been built around these stations. Bus services have been rudimentary to most towns & cities and have only recently tried to reach more places. one look at the IR tracks even inside the city should tell you, they cover a major portion of high density locations making it a very good connect from their workplaces in their city to their homes outside the city. People see these stations in their back yard and want to use them for their daily use, right now they cant.

Also because train has right of way and can reach destinations on time with reliability. If done with proper signalling systems & bypasses at stations, you should be able to time your trip and not have traffic delays especially over long distances. Heavy rail also has the ability to carry larger number of passengers per trip over any other mode of surface transport, which makes it ideal for suburban lower frequency (30min/hourly) service.

Imagine travelling from Tumkur to Devanahalli everyday. Time to reach the destination by road will vary on road traffic conditions regardless of wether its Public Bus or Private Car. If done as a proper system the train can get you there every day same time and also enable last mile options so that road traffic can be put to more efficient use

People identification with commuter rail is a reactive concept. A more proactive use for commuter rail is transit oriented development for the future leveraging the assets that the tracks provide and the catchment that it already supports. The future lies in this TOD that can wean a percentage of traffic away from road and into true mass people movers like heavy rail. People today cant relate to TOD as it is a concept that will take years to fructify & needs to be supported by favourable zoning policies around the destinations.

 Why do you think the commuter rail didn't get built?

Because the subject matter requires center state coordination and requires SPV structuring to make it happen. People havent been asking for commuter rail as a system and have always asked for one or two trains in their individual capacity as their need arose. There are already 16 passenger services (including YH1 & YD1)serving these nearby destinations that would have been logical commuter rail services but have been provided on one off basis. As representatives of the people, GoK has to ask and make it happen for the people of Karnataka else it will remain conceptual for a long time to come.

There are people who use airports & airplanes who have asked for the right things and got it done, who is asking for the poor old work horse, the train?

Very Helpful

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Thanks for responding I have a few more follow up questions for the community. (I said one in the post but it quickly became 5 :)

What has the response been to the Namma Railu Campaign from government officials?  Have they been responsive to the campaign in a positive or negative way? Do you feel like they are listening to you?

What have you learned about the process of government from this campaign?

Thank you all so much,


Sanjeev's picture

Bangalore by Commuter Rail / janaagraha

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Nisha Thompson examines the Commuter Rail System project in Bangalore and where it stands currently. India faces scalability issues that no other country (except China) has to deal with. The numbers are staggering. According to the McKinsey report on India’s urbanization to 2030 (quoted in the Praja Commuter Rail Call to Action report):

Praja started the Nammu Railu Campaign with the intention of moving the agenda for the Commuter Rail forward. Praja is a social networking site that “aims to be a bridge between those who serve us and those amongst us who care and want to participate. Towards that, it aims to establish an Internet driven community to help make the connection at local levels. It wants to be a networking platform for active and concerned citizens.”

Nammu Railu is a citizen-formed lobbying group created to facilitate more information and support for a comprehensive Commuter Rail System. The roots of the campaign lie in dialogue - the campaign started with discussions around whether commuter rails are worth it, trips using passenger trains to get to outer areas, meeting with officials and crowdsourcing information.

IDontSpam '–a prominent online campaigner for the Namma Railu Campaign has a perspective on why they think the commuter rail didn’t get built. “ ...the subject matter requires center state coordination and SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) structuring to make it happen. People haven’t been asking for Commuter Rail as a system, but have always asked for one or two trains only in their individual capacity as their need arose.”

The conversations, reports, events, and momentum Praja created is inspiring. They detailed the steps, pros and cons of the Commuter Rail leaving no stone unturned. There is no way anyone can now say there are people opposing the Commuter Rail System. Like most things, this boils down to political will. What is distressing is that given the reports and the comprehensive write ups regarding the growing population and transportation needs in the city, the government is only looking at small pieces at a time instead of implementing the whole picture.


Thanks to Nisha bringing out the good article on Commuter Rail in Janaagraha. Citizens of Bangalore should standup and demand the Politicians and Officers of State & Railways why Bangalore is treated so badly on Commuter Rail, still why they are keeping quite. comment guidelines

Posting Guidelines apply for comments as well. No foul language, hate mongering or personal attacks. If criticizing third person or an authority, you must be fact based, as constructive as possible, and use gentle words. Avoid going off-topic no matter how nice your comment is. Moderators reserve the right to either edit or simply delete comments that don't meet these guidelines. If you are nice enough to realize you violated the guidelines, please save Moderators some time by editing and fixing yourself. Thanks!

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