Implementing Suburban Rail - SPV Model!

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Commuter Rail

Last Friday, News9 / TV9's aired a live 'Panel Discussion on Namma Railu' with Dr. Sitharam (CiSTUP), Smt. Sumithra Iyengar (BCIC), our friend Mr. Muralidhar Rao (Preseident - Praja-RAAG) and myself as a blogger on Namma Railu.

The first 12 minutes or so was very elegantly done video on proposed suburban rail project for Bengaluru with what the govt has approved and some reality check on much acclaimed benefits of daily commute by train. I recommend everybody to watch this video.

For next 80 Mins or so, various aspects of the Namma Railu, aka Suburban Rail project proposals were discussed threadbare. It was very informative and lively discussion with everybody listening attentively to others. Credit also goes to the TV9 show anchors Mr. Harish Updahaya and his co-anchor. They kept the focus of the discussion and asked all the relevant questions.

From the discussion and listening to recording twice thereafter, I realized  there are 2 issues that were raised in the discussion and it requires a detailed response, which was not possible in the limited time in the program.

The 2 questions were,

  • Last mile connectivity
  • Chances of successful project implementation in the light of usual delays in public utlity project

Having answered the first one, let me take this opportunity to shed some light on the second one here.

The proposed 'Suburban Rail Service' for Bengaluru is based on using the existing railway infrastructure, i.e. Tracks, Signaling, Maintenance, Operations, Ticketing etc. on a sharing basis. It is both a smart use of infrastructure as well as challenging one to implement. The challenge comes from the fact that, since it is going to be a shared infrastructure, Indian Railways has to be involved in every step of planning and design. From railways perspective, their priority is long distance train operations.Suburban operations will become a lower priority to them. The needs of suburban rail service are different from long distance train service. Therefore the traditional way of project execution in railways will not suit. Moreover the traditional project execution requires internal funding from Railways/Govt. Given the railways finances, going traditional route will be a non-starter.

How do we overcome this? Konkan Railway, DMRC and MRVC shows the way to implement project like Bengaluru suburban rail service. All these 3 are executed on the SPV - Special Purpose Vehicle model with majority of the funding from external financial institutions.

RITES SPV Model for Bengaluru Suburban Rail Service

Here is a presentation illustrating the SPV model that RITES has recommended in its 2012 report.

RITES' SPV Model for Bengaluru Suburban Rail Service by kbsyed61




No word on SPV?

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It has been almost 2 months since the state govt gave its approval to Namma railu, we are yet to hear any word on formation of 'Special Purpose Vehicle' as promised in GOK budget - 2013.

DULT/GOK, any update on this?


Cluster cities to be connected via Commuter rail

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So, another department suggesting GoK to connect suburbs via commuter rail..

"...As per the detailed action plan prepared by KUIDFC, the cluster project will be implemented in five years, by 2017-18. It has proposed a commuter rail system in the BMR region."

Cluster city locations,

"..Ramanagar-Channapatna-Malur-Honganur, Harohalli, Nelamangala, Thyamagondlu, Doddaballapur-Dargajoginahalli, Devanahalli-Kadiganahalli-Hunasamaranahalli, Hoskote, Hebbugodi-Bommasandra..:

GOK requesting Planning Commission to support CRS

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For the GOK annual plan presented to Planning Commission during 26th June'2013.

Slide No - 26 :

Suburban Rail Bangalore : Support Sought for Covering Satellite Towns Tumkur, Bidadi, Ramanagara, Nelamangala and Kolar at an estimated cost of Rs 8759.

GOK should not treat this Subruban Rail project for Connecting new satelite towns as  projected in  KUIDFC.  GOK will get one more reason to delay this project saying let satelite towns to be in place and then look for Subruban Rail.

DPR and SPV soon?

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project report on Phase-I of the Rs 8,759-crore suburban rail system for Bangalore comprising five corridors, including from the city to Tumkur, Ramanagara and Bangarpet, would be completed "very soon".

Officials said a Special Purpose Vehicle -- Bangalore Suburban Rail Corporation -- would be set up for implementing the project which is expected to ease congestion in the city.

more here

Irreversible now?

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As always I will take this news with a pinch of salt. Reason being, most times journalist write what they want to write not what is to be written.

Nevertheless if this is true and this is official stand, than we could take solace in the fact that proposal for Namma Railu is now on a irreversible trajectory. With that if it can get some more political will we are for a treat seeing NR trains running in/out of the city very soon.


JnNURM projects!

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Some more media spice.

Source - Deccan Herald

"...On the suburban rail project for Bangalore, it is said the State government has proposed to the Centre that the cost be shared in 67:33 per cent cost ratio, with the latter contributing the larger amount.

The Centre, however, has not given its approval yet.

The project will be spread across 440 kilometres with five lines connecting Bangalore with Tumkur, Ramanagara, Bangarpet, etc..."

Finally the Suburban Rail taking off with SPV

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Finally this project is seeing the light of the day. DPR for Ph1A  is under progress with RITES and expected to submit soon. 

SPV formation will happen any time once Railway Board gives in principle approval.

GOK may contribute the amount for signalling upgradation with Bangalore city so that SWR can run more number of Suburban rail which will not take more then 2/3 months time  along with SPV formation.

Looking for some more service to be introduced by SWR on Ramanaga and Hosur