Bangalore gets rail link to nearby towns
The Railway budget 2014-15 presented on Tuesday by Railway Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda is markedly identifiable for its invitation to foreign direct investment (FDI) in Railways (except in operations), to public-private partnerships and to technology in modernising the Railways.
While keeping in mind the 3S (safety, security, speed) as beacons, Mr. Gowda, however, has not forgotten to pander to passengers from the State. He may not have announced the much-touted bullet train from Bangalore but Mr. Gowda’s budget includes a slew of announcements for better connectivity from cities and towns to the State capital and also a long-awaited rail link between Bangalore and its nearby towns.
The emphasis has been on linking cities that lie on the tourist circuit. While Bangalore will get one high speed train link (Mysore-Bangalore-Chennai running at a speed of 160 kmph to 200 kmph), new trains have been announced from other parts of the State to Bangalore to handle the increased load of passengers during “special occasions, festivals and holiday rush”.
Among the bouquet of new trains, both budget and premium, which will link Bangalore to the rest of the State are air-conditioned express trains (a daily Bangalore-Mangalore Express, a bi-weekly Bangalore-Shimoga Express.); new passenger trains (a daily Yeshwanthpur-Tumkur Passenger), MEMU services (Bangalore-Ramanagaram six days a week) and DEMU services (a daily Bangalore-Nelamangala).
Another train, in northern Karnataka, is aimed at tourists and straddles two States. The new train (from Gadag to Pandharpur via Bagalkot, Bijapur and Solapur) will cover pilgrim and tourist places in both States.
A third new train will start from Rameswaram covering tourist places such as Bangalore and Chennai and pilgrimage centres such as Ayodhya, Varanasi and Haridwar.
Bangalore will also get a premium train (Kamakhya-Bangalore Premium Express).
For the city that draws people from towns all around it, the highlight is the announcement of the long-awaited suburban rail project.