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Commuter rail for Bengaluru - state not interested?

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Commuter RailPublic Transport

First up, happy new year 2010 to all. I thought I should pick out one important piece from Sanjayv's summary post on Railway minister's recent announcements for our state. Minister says that the Bangalore-Whitefield-Krishnarajapuram track-quadrupling work could not be implemented as the State Government had not decided on commuter rail transportation and cost sharing.

What do we make of it? Is the state govt not "interested", or has not "yet decided" on the project? Taking the text literally, I would think that it is a case of state govt not having spent quality time thinking about the project and possibilities in detail. We haven't seen details of any cost sharing arrangements for this quadrupling project - the ball must be stuck there I assume.

Incidentally, I was at KR Puram station just this morning to pick up my mom. That place, station right next to two trunk roads, a new Metro station not so far away, is one transportation hub going waste.

Marathahalli is a similar place with rail/bus hub potential. So is Whitefield station, with Kadugodi bus stand right next to it. How close is the Wipro office area on Sarjapura Road to a Railway Line and Station? There is no need to mince words here - it is simply shameful to let all these solution opportunities go waste. Yes, its not easy, an eventual solution would involve state, Railway ministry and most likely a private party. But we are talking about possible solution for the only real and visible problem our dear city has today (relative to others in the country).

It will require some planning and investments (mentioned by lot of members over numerous past posts here):

  • Satellite railway stations (like how you have KSRTC doing satellite bus stations now) to free up the tracks inside the central city area
  • Some rail lines to "ring fence" the city, possibly connecting the satellite stations to further free up long distance rail traffic from going through the city.
  • Even with satellite stations, Byppanhalli-Salem single line would require some doubling work. But this one would perhaps be the only line needing doubling work, all other tracks we would want to use are all double.
  • And then, the usual coordination elements, the Rail/Bus/Metro connection features - subways, scheduling etc.

I don't really want to stop this post here. But I need help - If someone can support, we can draw these "satellite railway stations", and using cost figures from similar railways projects, even put a rough cost to the project to make Commuter Rail viable for the city.

I will try draw up KR Puram and Marathahalli areas using Google Map/Sketch.


silkboard's picture

Use this only for

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Please use this post only for route/catchment design possibilities for CRS. We could use Sanjayv's post to talk cost, structure and parallels.

idontspam's picture

Rolling stock requirements

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 I would really hope the CRS rolling stock will provide space for strollers, wheelchairs and cycles. Even better if they are double decked to carry more people.


idontspam's picture

CRS Northern line

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On the northern loop from Yeswantpur (Interchange with both Metro and Interstate line) 3 lines can be run

Line 1 to Yelahanka & BIA

Line 2 to Byappanahalli (interchange with Metro) & KR Puram (interchange with Interstate line) 

Line 3 to Marathahalli, Electronic CIty & Jigani

idontspam's picture

Line 2 Stops

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On line 2 to Byappanahalli/KRPuram the following new stops (numbered) could be created


1. Mathikere (near JP Park, Chowdeshwari bus stand is close by)


2. Nagashettyhalli (near D Rajagopal rd, Nagashettyhalli bus stand and Ring road bus stands are nearby)


3. Nagvara (near 1st main Kanakanagar & Vishwanatha Nagenahalli rd, Services Manyata bus. park)

4. Shampura (near Nagawara Main road, Shampura Bus Stand is nearby)

5. Kadugondanahalli/St Thomas town (near Hennur main road, connection to Kacharakanahalli bus stop)



KR Puram


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Vasanth's picture

Commuter Rail Better than Metro Extension to Kengeri, Whitefield

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Instead of spending lumpsum money on Metro extension to Kengeri, Whitefield, commuter rail would be more cost effective. Advantages is the cheaper and proven rolling stock, utilization of existing railway official resources mainly staff instead of new tracks, commuter rail mostly runs at grade (chennai is an exception of elevated commuter rail), easier connectivity to new suburbs like probable extension upto Bangarpet, Bidadi etc.

I don't know why Railways is thinking of extension of Metro to Kengeri instead of starting commuter rail.

Also, I don't think the traffic on the existing route is so high to quadraple. For a future requirement, it is good to have it quadrapled. To start with, existing tracks should be good enough.

I tried to travel from KR Puram to SBC and I couldn't get much trains in the evenings. To start with, morning and evening DMUs can be started on a trial basis in the existing track, morning from Kengeri to Whitefield at 7:00 AM and evening from Whitefield to Kengeri at 5:00 PM. DMU is needed since the new line to Mysore is not electrified yet. Once completed, EMU can be started.

idontspam's picture

Line 3 Stops

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Line 3 branches off past Banaswadi towards Marathahalli. People more familiar with those areas may suggest the stops. The stations should be as close to the following as possible

1. Heavy residential population (major residential area)

2. Business houses/ workplaces with heavy people movement (example IT parks etc)

3. Existing bus stands (or walkable upto 500 mtrs) If this doesnt exist and the above 2 conditions are there then a feeder service can be created.

Open space to allow for construction of platform should be available (usually the space IR has should be sufficient). Other facilities for the operation can be built on top of or under the line so no issues. Multilayering and direct walkways to facilities is a utility our stations havent used yet.

idontspam's picture

IR contributions

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 proven rolling stock, utilization of existing railway official resources mainly staff instead of new tracks

Current rolling stock is unsuitable for hop on hop off. Certain saliet features like low floor, wider doors, seat arrangement for quick movement of people, cycle loading space etc are not possible. There are other possibilities used across the world, mainly Europe, if you google.

High frequency needs highly automated signaling and switching. I dont think manpower is an issue in our country. Technology need to be improved though.

To start with, existing tracks should be good enough

Agree, but i believe there are bandwidth issues in running on existing tracks with current block sizes, which need to be worked out by the SPV in coordination with IR/SWR. They have to sit down across table and list down the what it takes to make it happen, there are easily 1000 reasons to not make it happen.

One other point is, Commuter rail should not stop within the city and needs to touch other cities nearby. Intra city should usually be serviced by metro. Line 2 itself could be extended to Whitefield on one side and Tumkur on the other. The frequency of CRS also will not be every 2 mins but every 15 mins or 30 mins. But it will be on time since it doesnt have to deal with car traffic and you can plan your schedules around a train schedule.

Vasanth's picture

We have to start somewhere

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I think IR has to start somewhere. We know quadrapling, block size issues etc  and correcting them can give better frequency.. but to check the usage by people, and to keep it simple to start with. Otherwise this project can go for another 4 more years with land acquisition problems. Smaller block sizes should be implemented on the existing tracks first and then quadrapling can be thought of.

My office is right in front of Marathalli - Byappanahalli track (salem track) and I have hardly seen any trains passing by. Usage is mostly in the nights as said by local residents. From KR Puram, few of our colleagues use train to SBC and there too very less trains.

Hot track is between SBC and Byappanahalli since from there trains branch off to Yelahanka , KR Puram and Belandur respectively.  Track from Yeshwantpur to Byappanahalli via Hebbal is the most underutilized single track. Routing needs to be done eliminating the 'Hot' track as much as possible.

Low hanging fruits needs to be plucked first..

silkboard's picture

Vasanth, the reason why low

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Vasanth, the reason why low hanging fruit approach will not work is this. Those things wont give you the "business case" to justify some large investments. And without end to end plan for connectivity, these things will not take off. It would be kind of like the HoHo failure - without fixing bus stands, bus interchange points, BMTC couldn't get people to use Big10/HoHo connect to come to the CBD.

Anyway, we will leave the structure talk to that other thread. How about drawing out one train/bus hub - on how it could work? And also - mark out all the satellite stations? What train would terminate at what satellite station? How would the pass-through trains (Rajkot-Coimbatore express types) cross?

Basic thought is that long distance traffic gets off at Satellite stations, and comes deeper into the city via bus or Commuter Rail. Simple enough thought.

The other thought, a bit drastic though - with the satellite concept in place, one can look into going from broad guage to narrower option (like BMRCL). That would make the job of adding extra track easier, and there would be some cost saving due to integration with BMRCL/Metro.

idontspam's picture

Commuter Rail Satellite Terminus

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 BIA catchment area of cities along NH4, Chitradurga, Davangere, Hubli, Dharwad Belgaum can be serviced with one high speed train with 5 stops. Second high speed to Mangalore Via Hassan for port connectivity. Third high speed train can get the ore belt of Sandur, Hospet, Bellary. The Mysore belt is heavily populated and will need more stop trains with an alternate non stop express. This is in addition to HSRL acting as a high speed connector from City to BIA and metro as a stop train alternative for populace in between should complete the picture.

If all of the above terminated at a commuter rail terminus built under the current BIA parking with around 6 platforms, we will have created a perfect countermagnet. IR can continue to use the current City terminus while the pushpull/metro from City will connect the 2 terminals. The BIA commutter terminus will have one standard guage for metro and rest for broad guage commuter trains. This way the platforms for changeover will become seamless. Internal walkways will connect the platforms to Terminals 1, 2 and cargo, it can also connect to other utilities like the airport hotel and can have a west station for BIA industrial park.

Bright green - T1

Bright Yellow - Cargo

Bright blue - T2

Blue - Airport Hotel

While the Commuter trains will terminate at BIA, the Metro itself can pick up the passengers and continue northward beyond the airport to upto Devanahalli servicing the non-BIA industrial parks envisaged around the airport. The metro route should be along SH 104 North upto Devanhalli as the Chickballapur Pushpull will cover the western side along the current railway line. If traffic ever reached numbers for a T3 in our lifetime then it would be an island terminus near SH104. Metro would have a stop there as well of it went along SH104 going northwards.

Bottomline, looking at this area over the next 20 to 50 years will allow for proper planning and space allocation. It should be set forth in a plan right now.

Vasanth's picture

RFC for routes..

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I have created this map for routes. Sorry, I created externally directly on google maps and hence not embedded here. I need SB's help to extract macros and embed here.

View Commuter Rail in a larger map

1. Kengeri to Whitefield via SBC, Cant, Byappanahalli, KR Puram.

2. SBC to BIAL / Chikkaballapur via Yeswhantpur, Yelahanka

3. Yeshwantpur (probably Tumkur if extended) to Anekal via Byappanahalli, Belandur.

4. Byappanahalli to Doddaballapur.



kbsyed61's picture

Existing Tracks?

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If I am not wrong the routes you have listed are based on the existing tracks. Any information on:

  1. Whether each of these have double or single track?
  2. Traffic pattern of SWR long distance passenger and goods trains on each of these tracks


vlnarayan's picture

Existing Tracks?

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         You are right, its based on the existing lines and the route status(lines) are as below : 

1. Kengeri to Whitefield via SBC, Cant, Byappanahalli, KR Puram. ( DOUBLE - Electrified)

2. SBC to BIAL / Chikkaballapur via Yeswhantpur, Yelahanka. (Single - Non Electrified)

3. Yeshwantpur (probably Tumkur if extended) to Anekal via Byappanahalli, Belandur. (Single - Non Electrified)

4. Byappanahalli to Doddaballapur. (Single - Non Electrified)


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