Suburban Rail Progress - Railway Board & SWR Conversation

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Commuter Rail

One of the interesting aspect of Indian Elections is that all the official machinery comes to halt. The Election Model Code serves as the perfect alibi for all the delays, even if they are not. Yes, for last 6 weeks the whole of India was engulfed in what everybody loved to love call "Dance of Democracy".

Lets come to progress on proposal for 'Bengaluru Suburban Rail'. The last progressive step was seen in February, 2014. That was just before the Railway Budget. Just to remind, Government of Karnataka had finally sent the official proposal to Railway Board in October 2013. In that response, Railway Board wrote to South Western Railway, Hubli soliciting their comments and response to GOK's proposal for Suburban Rail services in Bengaluru. This was in February 2014.

Finally it has come to notice that SWR has sent in their comments to Railway Board on March 26, 2014.

Let's look at the conversation between Railway Board and SWR Hubli.

1. Railway Board: Expenditure on by-passes and new freight terminals?
SWR Comment: With regards to the development of bye passes and new freight terminals RITES report has mentioned of these activities in phase-III of RITES report. 
2. Railway Board: PPP component in the project?
SWR Comment - RITES report has specifically recommended for an SPV to manage these activities and arrangements have been discussed at para 11.5 to 11.6 of the RITES report. It is premature at this juncture to assess the extent of involvement of individual stakeholders. This issue has already been commented upon by SWR in its letter dated 20.13.13(copy enclosed). It is opined that an empowered committee or the SPV may have to find a way ahead in consultation with the stakeholders to raise funds from alternative means.
3. Railway Board: Future of the basic traffic of Railways i.e. freight and long/medium distance
SWR Comment - To ensure that the future of basic traffic of railways is protected the involvement of responsible railway officers is essential. Hence, SWR has requested for Railway Board guidelines vide its letter dated 03.02.14 (copy enclosed).
4. Railway Board: Can there be a cap on the number of suburban services in a given infrastructure in case of increase in suburban traffic etc.
SWR Comment - With regards to the number of suburban services and putting a cap thereof, it is a decision which can be enforced by participating in the SPV and matching the services with the infrastructure.
5. Railway Board - Any other relevant items (technical and financial) which should be considered by the Railways.
SWR Comments
a) The essential point to be noted in the entire proposal is that GoK’s proposal to develop Commuter Rail System in Bangalore is essentially utilizing IR infrastructure to develop further infrastructure to offer least cost solution to all concerned. In view of this, it may be prudent on the part of IR to agree to participate in such projects where the IR is the backbone of the developments.
b) The proposal from GoK has also asked for participation in the project and commit equity participation. Since, IR is going to be the backbone of the project, it may be informed that the assets of IR will themselves be equity participation of IR and no additional involvement is required other than a token representation.
c) With regards to the commitment of 50% of the cost by IR, this issue can be dealt after formation of SPV and exploring alternative means of raising the finances for carrying out the project. Again, this is possible only if IR is participating and is a part of the empowered committee which will prepare the modus operandi for carrying out this project.
d) For additional facilities/line requirement of land has not been worked out which may be a real bottleneck in metropolitan areas.
e) State Government has not spelt out anything about any surcharge on existing fares.
f) It will be worthwhile to examine constraints of yard remodeling at major junction points before giving go ahead of any kind.  
The original communications is enclosed here.
03.02.2014 Railway Board Letter to GM Hubli Ruth Changsan.pdf358.41 KB
26.03.2014 SWR reply to Railway Board letter.pdf734.91 KB
13.07.2011 Railway Board Letter to SWR Hubli on Commuter Rail.pdf87.55 KB
20.03.2013 SWR Hubli reply to Railway Board for Commuter Rail.pdf224.94 KB


Earlier Conversation between Railway Board and SWR!

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Here is the conversation in 2011 and 2013 between Railways and SWR. Clearly there is enough tracktion in Railways on this project. Mr. Kharge did missed the golden opportunity in expediting the project. Not sure what did he gained by not putting his stamp on this project?

Cost Sharing!

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Going through the conversation, it is becoming clear that Railways is averse to cost sharing for development of infrastructure for CRS. Not sure why GOK keeps insisting 50-50 cost sharing even though 2012 RITES report had clearly given these recommendations,

  1. GOK to fund 100% of Phase-1A - Rs. 175 Crores
  2. SPV - 50 Crorer initial equity by GOK and IR as in the case of MRVC.
  3. For rest of the bulk funding, go for external borrowings from World Bank, ADB etc.
  4. Operation to stay with IR/SWR, Fare Managment, Development of CRS to be with SPV.


Response from SWR to Railway Board is clear

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Now its almost two months,  Railway Board is not able to take decision on how to say NO  to GOK proposal now ???

Its sorry state that experienced people siting in Railway board not able to demonstrate their leadership skills and show to whole country that how Railway Board can help big cities in over coming traffic issues, they need to demosgtarte that Railway has stuff in meeting urban transport requirement thru Suburban Rail.

How much time needs for Railway Board to take call on this now ???

Why is that Cheif / Secretary of GOK not sending reminders to Railway Board for giving approval  for Bangalore suburban rail ????

Let us wait till tomorrow and

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Let us wait till tomorrow and then see as to what happens to the results. If rumour mills are to believed then Metro Man Sreedharan is likely to be the railway minister.

The proposal has not moved an inch because of the inefficiency and inertia of Kharge.


Sanjeev, we need to talk to

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Sanjeev, we need to talk to DVS and HDK on this proposal once the results are out. We also need to drum up support for this transport system by speaking to residents of Kengeri, RR Nagar, the Association of Companies from Global Village.

Railway Board mum on suburban rail proposal

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Despite South Western Railway favouring introduction of a suburban rail system (SRS) in Bangalore, the Railway Board is yet to take a call on the same.

On March 26, 2014, SWR’s Chief Traffic Planning Manager N. Srinivas wrote to the Railway Board on the State government’s proposal for an SRS. “The essential point to be noted in the entire proposal is that proposal to develop commuter rail system in Bangalore is essentially utilising Indian Railways (IR) infrastructure to develop further infrastructure to offer least cost solution to all concerned. In view of this, it may be prudent on the part of the Indian Railways (IR) to agree to participate in such projects where IR is the backbone of the development,” he said. On the State’s proposal for equity participation by IR, the officer said assets of the Railways, which would be utilised for the project, would be the equity participation and a token representation on the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for SRS would suffice.

A senior official said the government is yet to hear from the Board.

On April 3, the Railway Board informed Sanjeev Dyamannavar, a Bangalore-based activist, that the State government’s proposal is under examination.

Mr. Dyamannavar expressed surprise over the enormous delay in taking a call on the issue at a time when the government is sharing the cost of various railway projects in the State and has agreed to form an SPV for the SRS. He said everyone expected speedy clearance for the proposal as M. Mallikarjuna Kharge, an MP from the State, is the Railway Minister.

MEMU coaches

SWR has just two mainline electrical multiple unit (MEMU) rakes, which are required for SRS. Against the demand for five rakes between 2011-14, the Board had allotted only one, according to another reply given to Mr. Dyamannavar by SWR. At the same time, many other railway zones have up to 20 rakes at their disposal, he said.

SWR expects to complete a maintenance shed for MEMU, the backbone of SRS, at Banaswadi by March 2015.

A top official in the construction wing told The Hindu that additional funds are expected for the shed, the contract for which was awarded on April 29 to city-based Krishi Infratech.

The ball is in GOK court!

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There is no point holding Railway Board responsible for delay in approval process for Namma Railu. They are best at producing reports after reports and they have done in this case also. The report SWR has sent is a positive one and can not be basis for rejection by Railway Board. They are repeating the same thing as RITES had said in their 2012 report.

When the recommendations from RITES was to fund the Phase-1A 100%, why did GOK proposed 50-50 share?

What prevented GOK to get Kharge to overcome his political inhibitions in approving projects outside his constituencies?

If any body is to be get hold of, it is the local politicians who have so far remain ambivalent to the proposal. Neither the MLA nor MPs (Barring TumKur MP) is really interested in taking up the case and running with it.



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Post elections results, definitely we need to reach out to all the local politicians, though our experience has been not very pleasant with either of party politicians. Barring Tumkur MP and the Prof. Rajeev Gowda, none have shown any real interest in the project.

We have seen, how previous B'lore Central and North MPs had shown scant interest even after reaching out to them via emails, phone calls and personal visits. But that doesn't means the new MPs(if any) would show same attitude. 

We can only be hopeful. We definitely need help in public outreach efforts in coming days. See if you can help us in any way? Even just a meeting of like minded people in your own area would go a long way. See if you can knock on your Corporator, MLA and MP to support this project.

Unfortunately, the campaign so far is being run by very few resources and therefore has to use the resources smartly and effectively. Public outreach efforts needs lots of efforts and hope people like you would be able to garner required support.

Awaiting new govt?

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Could it be that Railway board is waiting for the new govt's directives before acting on what SWR has recommended? Hope this is the reason for delay & not anything else.

It is also stupid of Rites to keep raising "viability" related queries again & again when numbers are very clearly spelt out in their own 2012 report.

Naveen, You are right!

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You are absolutely right. Since Railways is a political animal, there is nothing for RB to say either way. Their new master will decide which way the wind should blow.

Let me remind you that it doesn't matter who is in the Railway Minister Gaddi, a shrewed politician even from opposition party will get projects approved. It's all about NETA's will and interest. The best example is MPs from Kerala. They seem to have mastered the technique of getting projects approved at the center irrespective of which party they belongs. Every year they are at rail Bhavan with wish list much before the Budget. And no wonder most of their wishes are granted.

But in our state, only time we hear about Railways in after the Railway Budget criticizing the Govt for giving step motherly treatment to Karnataka. Ask them if they had put forward any request for better treatment, the answer would be a BIG NO. Neither they can think of new projects, connectivity, nor they have stomach and courtesy to support proposals from others which is in the interest of the state and the region.

The only road block for Namma Railu is Politicians. If they step aside and say yes, we all can rest be assured that Namma Railu will start chugging ASAP.

How many times Railway Board need confirmation from SWR

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Yes, I agree, GOK could have taken decision to fund 100%,  but as usual  who owns this project from MLAs or MPs or Minister ???

Same GOK gave free of cost land and cost sharing  money to Yadagiri Coach Factory in 30 days, when GOK could not do the same for Subruban rail project in last 30 years. Here every one know who owned this project.

For letter to Tumkur MP G S Basavaraj,  Railway Board had asked SWR to give details on Subruban Rail possibility during 2011 and SWR answered in nearly two years in March'2013.

Again Railway Board had asked SWR to give their coments in Feb'2014.  

Also letters from CM / GOK and CS / GOKand  Tumkur MP to Railway Board during 2011, 2013 also did not help.

What did the Railway Board do with all these inputs ??? Do we need Directors who can not even answer to State requests either in  positive or negative ???

Look at  what answer did Railway board give to GOK proposal during so many years,  even though it might have been proposed in different way.

Also what gaureente that Railway Board will run the services after taking money from GOK  ???  without agreement.

Also unity of MPs could have made big difference.  ItsRailway Board which taking advantage of non unity of Karnataka MP's.   

train connecting mysore kolar

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if minister mallikarjuna karge can influence and put one train between mysore and kolar tand mysore and Yelahanka that will be of really grat help to thousands of people.

He can atleast give permission to extend  bangalore-bangarpet dem trains until ramanagaram.

Rashmi Nivarthy

Infrastructure a priority for new MPs from city : Suburban Rail

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Even though they are yet to chalk out a detailed plan of action, the three newly elected Lok Sabha MPs from Bangalore appeared clearly inclined to focus on the city’s infrastructure, particularly suburban rail and Metro projects to decongest choked roads.

The former Union Minister Ananth Kumar, who won from the Bangalore South Lok Sabha constituency for the sixth consecutive term, said establishing a suburban rail transport system, a dedicated power plant for the city and securing increased water share from the Cauvery are among his top three priorities for Bangalore.

He also said that all three MPs would coordinate and prepare a plan for implementing the infrastructure projects for improvement of the city and improving the living condition of its citizens.

D.V. Sadananda Gowda, who won from the Bangalore North constituency, said the new MPs will protect the city’s interests at the national level. He said he would be convening a meeting of experts and others to prepare his agenda for the city.

P.C. Mohan, who won from the Bangalore Central constituency, said suburban rail tops his agenda for Bangalore. Bringing more funds for constructing permanent houses for slum dwellers was also on his agenda, he said.

Good to see that  all three elected MP's from Bangalore have taken  Suburban Rail as their priority.  So will Railway Board clear this before the Railway Budget. 

Great to see this

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At last some politicians are taking real interest in developing the infrastructure. good to see that Namma Railu is their priority No 1.

even at the time of campaining Mr.A K showed a Video on Namma Railu on various media... he also said with in 100 days he will ensure Namma Railu will be approved...

I only wish any one from our state become Railway minister and get all our projects approved..its high Bangalore/Karnataka develop good rail connectivity like other southern states,

All the best to newly elected MP's - hope they adhere to what they are saying,




New Drum or Sincere Inner Voice!

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Personally, I would be the happiest person if the newly elected MPs an get Suburban Rail on Track in next few months. But their past commitment and response has different track record. One had even refused to sign a petition to the Railway Minister.

In politics whoever capitalizes an opportunities is the winner. Namma Railu is that wonderful opportunity that is begging for attention since 2010.

In any case will look forward to ACCHE DIN for Namma Railu.........

Basavaraj's Loss

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Tumkur MP Basavaraj losing the election does not augur well for Bangalore CRS. He was one of the earliest supporters of this project. P.C Mohan and Ananthu are maybe looking at the lucrative Rail Ministry portfolio, which is why they are backing this project and not because of any genuine interest.

This time its should get approval and kick start the services

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Expecting MP's from Bangalore to ensure that Suburban Rail / Commuter Rail gets approval from Railway Board a d its gift by he MP's to City.



Commuter train and improvement of Karnataka rly instrastructure

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Now that the BJP's Modi government has been sworn in yesterday and to our happiness, Shri DV Sadhanda Gowda from our state of Karnataka has become Minister of Railways, we have to be active to see that the commuter railway services from Bangalore to various suburban destinations gets top priority and implemented in stages. Also we have to pressurise the honourable minister to take steps in right earnest to complete various ongoing railway projects in Karnataka. This apart, we have a few more demands on various aspects concerning railways in the state of Karnataka.

We hope and trust that the new Railway Minister, Shri DVS Gowda will work in right earnest and take steps to meet the demands/aspirations of rail passengers in Karnataka. 


R Ram Mohan, Bangarapet





Suburban Rail should now become reality with Railway Minister

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" A senior BJP leader from the state explained, "Bangalore MPs have been demanding a suburban rail system that connects the heart of Bangalore with peripheral areas. With Sadananda Gowda becoming the railway minister, we hope the suburban railway system and other pending railway projects in the state will take wings. Similarly, agriculture in the state will get a boost with Ananth Kumar becoming fertilisers minister."

Best time for Suburban Rail Bangalore to roll out with Bangalore North MP Sadanand Gowda taking charge and project being pending wih Railway Board. 

Citizens of Bangalore should  ask Railway Minister Sadanand Gowda to get approval and roll out the services soon.

Railway Minister should approve and give the gift to Bangalore

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'Metroman' Gives Inputs to Suburban Rail Project for Kerala

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‘Metroman’ E Sreedharan on Friday gave vital technical inputs to the proposed suburban railway service in the state, the detailed project report of which has been prepared by the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) Ltd.

The inputs were given during a meeting chaired by Chief Secretary E K Bharat Bhushan on Friday in which high-level officials of MRVC, Railways and the government participated.

“The MRVC had submitted the DPR for the suburban rail project.

“However, some technical issues needed to be ironed out. The meeting was held to seek Sreedharan’s comments on the projects on technology and processes,” said Sunil Bajpai, Divisional Railway Manager, here.

“The MRVC has been asked to incorporate Sreedharan’s views and modify the project report accordingly,” a top government official said.

The suburban rail corridor has been proposed in the Thiruvananthapuram-Haripad and Thiruvananthapuram-Chengannur routes. 

A Special Purpose Vehicle, with a 50:50 equity participation of the state and the Railways, has been floated for the project which is expected to cost around Rs 3,500 crore

Already MRVC has subitted the DPR for suburban rail corridor in Kerala and which was reviwed  by Chief Secretary E K Bharat Bhushan that is  in June'2014. 

But in Karnataka,  both Elected Reps and Officials of GOK are sleeping on the Bangalore Suburban Rail DPR progress even after One year,  still no progress of completing,  it may take next 2 years ???

Will GOK come out clearly does it serious about it ??? inspite of having Railway  Minister from Karnataka,  during last four months and also during previous Railway   Minister Kharge,  no offical eetings are held shows,  GOK does wants ensure project does not take off  for some vested interest. 

Either Bangalore Dist Incharge Minister,  CM of GOK, Chief Sec of GOK or 6 MPs represnting from Bangalore did not get time to review the  project during last  16 months time.

Also Why Present Railway Minister also did not call any  meeting on this till now is itself surprising that some vested interest have control on the CM and Railway Minister not to implement the Suburban Rail project.


will these service be gift for Karnataka Rajosthava 1st Nov

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Can it be extended further..

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Can this service be extended till White field or atleast till Yelahanka...instead of terminating it at SBC can run upto Yelahanka...hundreds of people will beneift. specialy NEW BEL road, Lottagollahalli,Sanjay Nagar, Kodigehalli,Sahakaranagar,Judicial layout, Allala sandra, Yelahanka newtown...these are the areas which can benefit if extended till Yelahanka.

on the other hand if extended till will further benefit ORR stretch. Or alternatively the MEMU can run to White field as below

Ramnagar - SBC - Yeshwanthpur - Kodigehalli - Yelahanka - channasandra - K R puram - White field, I dont know whether its feasible or not. but i know for sure that few long distance trains starts at SBC - comes to Cantt - Channasandra - Yelahanka.

if any of the above extention is will benefit citizens a lot and surely traffic problems can come down atleast by 30 to 40 % minimum.




Since May2014, hardly any progress on Bangalore Suburban Rail

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Last 5 month, we did not see any progress on Bangalore Suburban Rail  even though for name sake it was mentioned in the Railway Budget.

Will new Railway  Minister and  Elected Reps from Bangalore work sincerly to get the Suburban Rail

Everything begins with Mumbai

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Everything begins with Mumbai and ends with Ahmedabad in Modi's durbar.

Ananth sets the ball rolling on local trains

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Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Ananth Kumar said on Sunday that he would hold talks with the Union urban development minister over introducing Mumbai-like local trains in the City.

He was speaking after flagging off two new trains from Yeshwantpur to Jaipur and Bikaner.

“We already have railway lines between the City and Mysuru, KR Puram, Tumakuru and Yelahanka stations. If these lines are doubled and electrified, cost-effective local trains can be started with minimal land acquisition.”

Soon Union Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, Bengaluru Central MP P C Mohan and State Transport Minister Ramalinga  Reddy will hold a meeting with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in this regard, he said.

“The Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) has analysed the pros and cons of the circular rail. But the project is cost intensive as it requires land acquisition. Doubling of the existing tracks under commuter rail with automatic signals would thus be a better option. It is feasible to have local railway stations within the City.

So, prominence would be given to commuter rail,” he said. Of the two new trains inaugurated, the weekly train (22695/22696) will depart from Yeshwantpur every Thursday at 11.30 am and reach Jaipur at 6.35 am every Saturday, covering a distance of 2,450 km in 43 hours and will have limited stops at stations such as Yadgir, Kalaburagi, Pune, Vadodara and Ajmer.

Why Railway ministert sitting on the Bangalore Suburban Rail Proposal last one year and its Railway Officials not making positive move on this.


Nod for City Suburban Rail Link Likely in May

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RIGHT ON TRACK Ananth Kumar says project set to get `in-principle' approval
Before it completes one year in office next month, the Narendra Modi regime will give an “in -principle“ approval for a suburban rail system for Bengaluru, according to Union Chemicals & Fertiliser Minister Ananth Kumar.

Two railway ministers from the state, Mallikarjuna Kharge and DV Sadananda Gowda have tried to push the idea but their tenures were short to set the ball in motion. Gowda had even mentioned about it in his last year's railway budget speech.

Ananth Kumar, who represents Bengaluru South in the Lok Sabha, told ET the Railway Ministry's might give its “in principle“ nod. “Bengaluru is badly in need of a Mumbailike local suburban train system.Only a proper metro-suburban train system combination can decongest the city ,“ Kumar said.

A suburban rail system requires double tracks on all sections, automatic signalling system, platforms every 2-3 km and electrification.Transport infrastructure consultancy RITES has conducted a feasibility study , and its report proposes setting up of a suburban rail system network of 405 km connecting Bengaluru with surrounding suburbs and towns. This is expected to cost about `9,000 crore. The previous BJP regime in the state, according to Kumar, had offered to bear half the project cost if a suburban rail project was sanctioned. “Now, I have put forth all these issues before the railway minister, and I am sure before the completion of one year of the Modi regime, we will get the approval. If the project becomes a reality , we will have more than 100 railway stations in and around the city ,“ he said.

The IISc arm, the Center for infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning or CiSTUP , has said the proposed rail system can serve eight LS constituencies, 47 Assembly segments and 20 lakh commuter trips per day in and around Bengaluru. It believes every `100 invested in the project would result in an economic return worth `600.

“This is one of the major priorities for me as an MP ,“ said Congress Rajya Sabha member MV Rajeev Gowda.“Suburban rail is a beautiful solution to wean people, especially those in the IT sector, away from private transport,“ he said.

Once the approval is in place, Ananth Kumar said, the government will have to start with a special purpose vehicle on the lines of K-RIDE to roll out the project. “If Karnataka and the Centre each chip in an equity of about `100 crore, the rest will come in the form of loan from multilateral agencies,“ he added.

Experts with the Railways, however, are not sure if the arguments put forth in favour of a suburban rail system are correct. The experts at RITES have done the study assuming that existing lines originating from the city railway station or Yeshwantpur are not fully utilised and there is spare capacity available to run additional trains. “But peak-hour slots are already taken by long-distance trains. In such an event, would there be takers for sub-urban services during off-peak hours,“ an expert said.


After Elected as MP during May'2014,  Ananthkumar mentioned as Suburban Rail is on top  priority and  as it lloks matter has been raised  to PM level  for this from both citizens and MPs.

Can we expect approval from Railway Minister in next couple of days ???