Chennai Suburban Rail : Paranur Station next to Mahindra World City where ITPL failed

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Commuter Rail

Recently I was at Mahindra World City  which is 50 Kms from Chennai. As usual got interested in the Connectivity  from this place to Heart of  Chennai.

When checked,   came to know this Paranur station.  Infact most of the big companies located at this place run shuttel services every  15 / 30  min to this Paranur station for their employees.

Here some of the  news article on this Paranur station :

As the Paranur station abuts Mahindra Wrold City which 60 Kms from Chenna.

So exactly why is it worth writing about? Because it has managed to do stuff that’s completely alien to train travel in our country. It’s clean (yes, the toilets too), it’s colourful, landscaped and well maintained.

The magic is the result of an impressive public-private partnership, reportedly the first of its kind in the country. Mahindra World City Developers (MWCD) joined hands with Indian Railways to give the dreary station a makeover, after Mahindra World City, an integrated business zone, came up here.

Money well spent

MWCD has spent Rs. 1.5 crore on the project and also meets the recurring expenditure of maintaining and protecting the facility. Considering that the station is the gateway to Mahindra World City and used by 40 per cent of its workforce, it is obviously money well spent for the company. And a windfall for the neighbourhood.

As the suburban train slides into the station, the scene shifts from dreariness to vibrant colour. A shock of well-tended greenery lines the main structure that contains the ticket counter, the waiting room and toilets. Fountains add drama to the view. Stretches of land near the tracks are landscaped, and the platform and foot over-bridge look slick, with their overlay of tiles. The surprise continues all the way to the toilets, immaculately kept and with a special facility for the differently-abled. Spittoons and high-velocity lighting complete the satisfying picture of modernity and sophistication.

“As the station abuts our city, we wanted to give it an ambience and amenities that will benefit the employees of MWC and others,” says Sangeetha Prasad, CEO, MWCD. Five years on, the station is set to become a beacon for similar partnerships elsewhere.

“A delegation from the Ministry of Commerce visited the station to see how the model works,” says Prasad.

Paranur is a trendsetter in how private companies can be roped into public infrastructure projects. May their tribe increase!

Some highlights

*Round-the-clock security

*Well-tended garden with fountains and flower beds

*High-velocity lighting

*Spacious ticket counter

*Waiting room with toilets, including one for the differently-abled

*Steel benches and spittoons

Shilpa Architects  who designed this tiny station :

Chennai Suburban Rail where Paranur Station exist : Beach - Tambaram - Chengalpattu

This Paranur Railway station currently operates over 64 local services between Chengelpat and Chennai Beach   and has 20,000 people using this service.



Same case with HiTech City in Hyderabad.

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MMTS Hyderabad is meeting demands of IT people travell needs  with HiTech City station.

Looking at how ITPL at Whitefield  strugeling for the commuting needs and still hoping some miracle will happen outside its premises.

Simple thing in case of ITPL could have been & now also  its possible :

1. Develop halt station behind Prestige Shantiniketan apartment  and provide good foot paths  to ITPL.   This may not cost more then 5 Crore and another 2 Crore for FOB.  So in oer all 10 Crore is sufficent.

2. As most of the shuttel sevices between Bangalore City - Bangarpet / Marikuppam gives unscheduled / unoffical stops,  make them offical stop at the above place.

3. Extend the Bangarpet - Bangalore City  Trains to Bidadi

4.  Add another  just FOUR more services 2 in the morning and 2 in the evening.  This will give 8 / 10 services between Whitefiled - Bangalore city which will inturn brings down pressure on the road.


IT Cities Suburban Rail onnectivity Mumbai. Hyderaba, Chennai

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Was woundering  till now  we did't  notice on how Paranur station made difference for travell  to Mahindra World City in Chennai which 50 Kms from the city. Only looking at how MRTS initially failed  till now???

Same way with MMTS to HiTech City in Hyderabad.  Similarly at SEEPZ Mumbai which close to Andheri has bus shuttel services  from Andheri Station to SEEPZ

Can any one  update on how Salt Lake city in Calcutta is having Urban  Transort Connectivity ???

Compare this to the massive

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Compare this to the massive amount of concrete used for the metro stations.


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Oh please, for the umpteenth time do not keep insisting that suburban rail is the one & only solution for any & every area in Bangalore whilst metro is just a waste of concrete. Appreciate whims & fancies are kept wrapped up since they do not make any sense at all to address the city's commuting needs. When authorities are now committed to rail solutions rather than road (as in the past) to solve the traffic mess that Bangalore has been, they need our encouragement rather than meaningless recommendations. As I said earlier, rail tracks are where they are & cannot be moved - suffice to say that they can be used to the extent possible but they will never be able to solve most commuting problems nor be a substitute for a metro system that can be positioned across much larger catchment areas.

Paranur station is 50km away from Chennai city & Mahindras contributed to developing the station since they needed connectivity to Chennai city to ensure their project that stood isolated far away did not fail. This is no different to cluster cities being planned around Bangalore with suburban rail connections - & developing stations at spots needed.

SEEPZ in Mumbai does not have any special shuttle buses - it has normal BEST buses which are inefficient due to traffic, especially in peak hours. Mumbai metro line-3 (entirely u/g) is planned along Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ route.

As for Hyderabad (& also Chennai), MMTS /MRTS routes are restricted & do not cover most catchment areas. A metro route is being planned connecting Hi-Tec city in Hyderabad.

Salt lake city in Kolkata has suburban rail far off & a metro route (line-2) is planned covering the various sectors of the area.

Sorry, but without touching upon these facts, your claims about the effectiveness & efficiency of suburban rail in other cities is as usual hollow & completely biased.

Whitefield is a fully developed suburb of Bangalore housing hundreds of companies & residences contiguous & less than 20km from city. Is the distant suburban line enough to take care of needs for the whole of whitefield? The shortest distance between the suburban rail tracks & ITPL is over a km & there are no proper roads. The nearest points from where buses can be run is from Hoodi 2.7km away. New stations have been recommended in our Call to Action report at Hoodi & Sadarmangal, but both are far off & buses will be inefficient (like SEEPZ in Mumbai) & people will continue using cars.

And ITPL is not just one destination in Whitefield - EPIP, various hospitals & educational institutions etc are spread out everywhere. So, appreciate all aspects are touched upon instead of exaggerating about the virtues of suburban rail in other cities without full knowledge.

So is the Namma Metro!

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I don't know why we had to slug it out here on Metro Vs Suburban. Like suburban, Metro also is not the only solution for Bangalore's needs. Even if one takes its 100% carrying capacity, i.e. 1 Million commuters per day, it is only 15-20% of the Bangalore's PT ridership. We need additional capacities to fulfill the remaining 6-7 million PT ridership.

You will agree with me that neither Metro nor Suburban (if at all it happens) will go to everybody's door steps. Unless the last mile connectivity is taken care, be it Metro or Suburban rail, they will remain inefficient PT systems. In that context, I don;t know why coaxing the govt authorities to pay attention to last mile connectivity, which I understood to be the theme of this post should get bashed up.

It is a fact that Metro costs more and for that huge cost it does delivers a decent transit system. You and me can argue for umpteen times should we invest in such projects or not? In 2013 for Namma Metro, that arguments will be purely academic and am sure nobody will win that argument.

Suburban rail, whether we believe it or not, if implemented properly, can alleviate some of the Bangalore's transit problems if not all.

Instead of fighting here on Praja, let's fight the state government, MLAs, MPs who is sitting pretty and not doing enough to expedite the process. If nothing else lets call CS, CM, MPs and MLAs or at least drop them an email. File some RTIs. Pester them till they wake up. If you can arrange personal meets, please do so. We are running short on time.

In comparison, look at the efforts from Kerala politicians.

Source - NDTV

“...A Rs.3,000 crore regional rapid rail project to run two trains from Thiruvananthapuram to Chengannur and Haripad in Kerala was approved today after Chief Minister Oommen Chandy met top railway officials. The trains will ease travel in the crowded southern districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Alappuzha."This project would be a joint initiative of the centre and the state. The Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) will be submitting a detailed project report by December," said Chandy to reporters after meeting Southern Railway and MRVC officials...”
No reports yet, No DPR, but already govt is talking to Railway Ministry and seems the deal is almost through.
What has our state govt done since the GO was issued? Nothing. No sign of SPV, or empowered committee.
And we still blame railways for ignoring Karnataka.

Tunnel Vision again

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Like suburban, Metro also is not the only solution for Bangalore's needs.

Metro will cover huge urban sections since it passes over street medians. So, stop criticizing metro & trying to position suburban rail as equivalent - it isn't by any means & will serve nearby towns mostly with few urban catchments en-route.

1 million is an old projection for ph-1 for the year 2016 (with 4-coach trains) & you seem to have latched on to it though it is incorrectly stated on RITES report since it suits you to argue against metro. The ridership was estimated at 1.6 million in 2021 for 33km (6-coach trains). That ridership figure has been revised to over 2.6 million for ph-1 with its extensions in ph-2. Other lines in Ph-2 projects an additional 7.7 lakhs (or 3.4 million totally by 2021).

Kindly read reports properly & do not just keep quoting what RITES report states just because it suit you. If metro's projections are unbelievable, then the RITES projections for suburban rail should also be questionable.

neither Metro nor Suburban (if at all it happens) will go to everybody's door steps.

Metro will certainly be better accessible than suburban for most urban commuters as explained. So, dont again try to argue & claim that both are the same - they are not.

coaxing the govt authorities to pay attention to last mile connectivity, which I understood to be the theme of this post should get bashed up.

Last mile connectivity has to be by bus in most cases, but Metro passing through Whitefield as planned does away with this too for the offices & commercial centers there. And nowhere does this post talk about last mile - the posts are all arguing about other cities use of suburban rail like as if it has provided complete solutions. Sorry, but it hasn't & all of those cities are building metros with larger overlaps than in Bangalore - this was clarified earlier, but some of you here continue to argue again & again like some stuck record.

Suburban rail, whether we believe it or not, if implemented properly, can alleviate some of the Bangalore's transit problems if not all.

No, it cannot alleviate most problems. If one imagines this, he is day dreaming & letting his imagination run wild because it is his fancy. All other cities (including Mumbai) are examples & are building metros.

let's fight the state government, MLAs, MPs who is sitting pretty and not doing enough to expedite the process.

Sure, but dont keep harping against metro whilst painting suburban rail as some kind of a saviour - it can never be. Metro will be far more useful for the city & the city cannot do without it, though it may manage without suburban rail.

Around 10 times

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Yes, metro will have 2 million ridership and suburban railway will have 2 lakh ridership in banglaore. When difference is 10 times these two cannot be termed as same. Suburban trains should serve satellite towns than urban population of bangalore, and there is very less scope for mumbai like quadrupling or even 6 lines. Very nearby stations like Hoody, ITPL and whitefield will only slow down bangalore suburban service.

@ Naveen, see the thread intention and why METRO is raked up???

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I am trying to  bring out my first  hand good experience of  an urban transport by Rail in India at Paranur.  Lets discuss how this has been made possible.

If you have good examples of any mode of Urban Transport of particular place or even Pedestrian FOB or Under passes,  please bring to every ones awareness  and lets discuss on each case how they went about the implementation  and show this to  our  sleeping Babus and Ministers.

Even Paranur station is more then 1.5 Kms from the Mahindra World City Developers( MWCD ),  still 20,000 people use without proper last mile connectivity  from the Govt. Case is that  the respective company shutel buses are deployed  without depending on Govt city buses like BMTC.    

So in case of SEEPZ,  companies failed to provide good last mile connectivity and left employees to depend upon BEST buses. Feeling is its failed,  but Ground reality : Employees struggel and use both Suburban Rail and BEST buses.

In this case MWCD of Chennai went ahead on spending just  Rs 1.5 Crore on Paranur station and hired Architect  without looking at Financial gain on just Rs 1.5 Crore and looking for long term  gains,  it looked at its 1000 Acers asset and  gain  from the Paranur station. 

Same way ITPL should  have spent  Rs 3 / 4 Crore way back 10 years on the halt station  behind Prestige Shantiniket with all the facility like FOB, PF, Rest Rooms, Proper Ticketing counter and one FOB infront of ITPL to cross the road.  So the effect could have been good rail connectivity to only ITPL and surrounding area. Struggel by people by road would have come down for ITPL.

In the mean time METRO could have been planned for Whitefield area.

Effect would have  been  : Conectivity to ITPL could have been smooth and traffic arround Mahadevpura and Hoody would have been better. 

This classic case is mater of 10 Crore,  but everyone including ITPL promotoers, IT crowd, BMTC, GOK  would love and enjoy of their unproductive Hours spent for decades in Traffic Jams. 

Even now its not late ITPL  and Prestige Shantinikethat should come forward with 10 Crore to spend  for this halt station and tie up with SWR for the same. This will give big relief for people working in ITPL  

In any case METRO will come in next 6 / 7 Years and will  cover  other  areas of Whitefield area.

So here we r not argung Suburban Rail Vs METRO.

Introducing BRT in between Metro and Suburban Train

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Well, not only Metro and Suburban train, a very cost effective but  politically tough decision to introduce BRT in various stretches  is another wise solution. 

Suburban rail, GOI and Railways has to approve, various tasks recommended by RITES has to be taken care. As the name suggests, it is the solution for connecting suburbs. On the other hand, Metro involves huge investments, clearances from Central Govt , RDSO and CRS, lot of construction time and lot of problems for the public during its construction. It is the political decision that has to be taken by GoK. 

Delhi had lots of problems whereas Ahmedabad had its BRT set up so quickly. Lots of cities in Gujrat  like Surat,Vadodara and Maharashtra like Indore is following Ahmedabad model. We in Bangalore are simply saying our road widths are not wide whereas we have lots of wide one way roads like Residency Road, Old Airport Road, Urvashi Road etc.

Question is why aren't we Praja pushing for this similar to Suburban Rail? Aren't we clear ourselves if it is possible? Shouldn't we have discussions on this more?

Metro rail  GoK itself will take care, no need to push for it. What we need to concentrate is how to better use them such as feeders, facilities like parking in major stations, bicycle parkings in most of the stations etc.

Mono rail, the builders like L&T, Scomi, Hitatchi will push it. We have to review something like if this is needed or not in the proposed corridors.

Suburban rail, we have pushed  and GoK has announced it in its budget . We will continue to work on it further..

Major initative needed now is BRT or BPS. There is no proposal whatsoever by IDD about any BRT projects except Hubli Dharwad which was about to be hijaced by Monorail when Shettar was CM.

Now and then, we hear news and it vanishes away especially the stretch between Silkboard and Hebbal on ORR. After the signal free corridor, still ORR has not become congestion free. GoK and BDA thinks that it has done its duty and has washed hands.

Phase 1 Reach 1 Metro increasing catchment

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I recently had a conversation with Ashwin Mahesh in Facebook on the introduction of Big Trunk buses to Hosur Road and told him we need similar arrangement to connect Byappanahalli with ITPL and Byappanahalli with Sarjapur Road. He said Metro will reach ITPL, why we need. I said it is in Phase 2 and by that time even Hosur road would have Metro where Big Trunk is planned.

He was of the impression that Big Circle buses touch Byappanahalli and people can use that to take the Metro from Outer Ring Road . I said it passes 2 kms away from BYPL near Tin Factory and lot of buses end in Tin factory. If they are extended to Byappanahalli, it would be helpful to ORR companies.

He said like he will take up this with BMTC chief during next meeting.


@Sanjeev, fine

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Your point noted, okay. But comparison of an upgrade for a small /minimalistic suburban station with concrete used for building an entirely new elevated metro station is meaningless & sounds biased.

As regards ITPL connectivity, I dont agree with your idea of putting up a new halt /station closest to ITPL along the tracks. The Kadugodi station is already near & is being used by people bound for ITPL /EPIP with plenty of BMTC buses terminating there adjacently. Why should another station be built where tracks are closest to ITPL? What about road for buses for last mile since tracks are over 1km from ITPL? No one will give up private lands either.

Additional trains are desirable, no doubt & it is for the people of ITPL /EPIP to demand them. I agree all our politicians have not been raising sufficient demands but the present CM has finally cleared suburban rail - hope he pushes for it fast - maybe they are waiting for elections & a new govt at centre + working out modalities with SWR.

I dont think BRT is possible on internal 4-lane roads. There have to be long stretches of 6-lane road like ORR, Hosur rd, Tumkur rd, OMR & Bellary rd. BRT on IRR is possible provided bus lanes can be dedicated from OMR to Hosur rd to connect both ends & be of use.

@rackstar - today it 1.5 laks per day!

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As of now, there are 1.5 lakh commuters travelling in trains daily. This is from actual ticket sales.

The projected figures for suburban after Phase-3 is 2.5 millions not 2 lakhs as you want to believe.

Regarding Whitefield

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Regarding Whitefield, the question is why there is no train running every half an hour to Whitefield station. There is clear bias here and Metro has a role in this. The station maybe 1 km from ITPL but Ring road is 10 km away and other residential areas of Bangalore are further away. Whitefield may have developed now, but was clearly suburban area 10 years ago, why no suburban train was started?  People will use trains even if not very accessible to ITPL and convenient buses from Whitefield station, it could have been and still is very useful or cabs could pick up people from Whitefield as is happening in Parannur.

Not sure

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There is clear bias here and Metro has a role in this.

I'm not sure metro has a role in this - if so, the politicians & bureaucracy must be blamed for the bias.

Fact is Karnataka's politicians have been weaklings. Our politicians & industry have never pursued suburban rail seriously for decades despite many study reports. Ideally, suburban rail services to Bangarpet, Tumkur & Ramnagaram should have been started at least two decades ago instead of waiting to solve city commuting problems.

Hyderabad pursued MMTS through political manoevering though the investment seems somewhat of a waste now since it has limited reach & there are duplications with metro being built, but Bangalore's suburban services would have covered far more destinations upto satellite towns & of far better utility.

Don't paint all with "Anti-Metro" brush!

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I don't know why you would like to lump each one of us through binary lens of Metro or Suburban. I don't believe in such iill advised perspectives. But one thing I believe is NO ONE PT SYSTEM WILL SERVE ALL NEEDS. It has not happened else where and it will not happen in India. Please do not try to treat every discussion on Suburban as "Anti-Metro".

Nowhere I said suburban will solve all problems. What I said was "Suburban rail, whether we believe it or not, if implemented properly, can alleviate some of the Bangalore's transit problems if not all" Let me know if that means otherwise? If so I will stand corrected.

Regarding Metro numbers, even with your revised figures, it is only 3.4 million, say 4 million by 2021. But by then Bangalore's population would have increased by at least 20-30%, i.e 1.2 to 1.3 crores. Still there will be 3-4 Million daily commuters who are left out after Metro & BMTC services. You will have to serve them by something, otherwise people will serve themselves. You know what happens with that option.

The discussion and arguments here are should we add more PT services to fill that gap? If suburban rail can serve that purpose even if it takes half of Metro capacity, why not? It doesn't mean you need to stop building Metro. It doesn't mean Metro doesn't serve the city well. It doesn't mean I am against Metro. Irrespective of my position on other PT systems, I am all for Suburban Rail and I am convinced. That is the reason I passionately campaign for Namma Railu. But in my campaign, I don't say, No metro or No This or No that. I say lets bring Suburban soon and help people who needs it.

You and me can list all the differences between Metro and Suburban, but for governments, politicians, Babus, the difference is 2% of 40K crores and 8K crores. We all know what that is.


No Issues

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As I said, the posts seemed to suggest that suburban rail was doing wonders for urban commuters to IT /office destinations in Chennai, Hyderabad & Mumbai whilst metro was wastage. Thus, it looked like another round of metro bashing was in the offing!

I would like to make one thing very clear again - existing surface rail network has limited scope for use for urban commuting. Chennai MRTS & Hyderabad MMTS bear testimony to this despite having routes designed expressly for urban commutes. This is because no matter what, routes will be severely constrained by land availability & difficulties in construction on surface. In fact Chennai's MRTS is fully elevated & yet contributes very poorly since it is away from roads as huge land parcels were used for stations. If a system carries a mere 70k or 150k even after 15 years of operation, I dont think they are worth investing in.

Compare these urban systems with Chennai's suburban rail of some 300km connecting various towns - the ridership is a huge 1.1 million. Also, Kolkata & Delhi metros have substantial patronage from start because routes were spot on & did not have routing or construction restrictions.

This being the case, how can we in Bangalore with an inter-city rail network expect the system to contribute substantially for urban needs? I believe Bangalore is doing it right now - design a suburban system to connect all the outlying towns (which in any case need rail connectivity) & consider whatever urban commuting contributions it gives as a bonus - eventually, even this quantum will become sizable justifying investments (like the Chennai suburban system).

Population & trip increases will go hand in hand with further metro & suburban rail developments - its only that the start has been very late for Bangalore. You are right about push needed for suburban rail - wonder what the DPR & SPV status is now?

Sathya can u share your recent experience of Paranur station

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Many IT people use Paranur station who work in Mahindra World city but none of them talk about its good thing.

@Sathya can u share  ur experience

Some of the Bangalore big gaint companies need to learn on this how to contribute to urban trnasport development by funding  but not blaming the Govt.

Surge in patronage for Metro, MRTS

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These train services were popular as they were not considerably hit by last week's rain

Number of commuters using these train services doubled in the last three days

While flooding of arterial roads led to difficulties in operating buses and exorbitant charges by private transport operators, many commuters turned to the Metro and Mass Rapid Transit Sysyem.

During the past three days, when rain submerged roads, patronage of the Metro and MRTS went up.

A senior official of the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) said the commuter population had doubled in all the six stations from Koyambedu to Alandur. Similarly, the operation of train services on the MRTS route, even during days of heavy rain, was a surge in the number of passengers.

A senior official of Southern Railway said this was one route where train services were not affected by flooding of tracks.

Official sources reveal that the revenue generated by CMRL services significantly increased over the last three days. It was between Rs. 8 lakh and Rs. 10 lakh, considerably higher than the usual collection, which is between Rs. 3 lakh to Rs. 4 lakh lakh.

The passengers commuting by the Metro had also increased to around 20,000 on weekdays against the usual 5,000, the sources said.

V. Lakshmi, working at an IT firm in Guindy, said travelling by the Metro was comfortable during a rainy season as they did not have to navigate water-clogged roads choked with traffic. Moreover, when compared to fares charged by autorickshaws and taxis, the Metro ticket was cheap, she added.

Thanks to AUthorities in Chennai / TN for doing better planning in providng urban mass tranport.  Chennai  citizens did not suffer  for want  of Public  Transport during last one week due rains.

Bangalore citizens suffered most / worst even though rains were not that intense like Chennai.  Thanks to the Govt of Karnataka for doing meetings, Reports and giving statements only.