Monday, October 10, 2011

Techie proposes tram-trains to ease traffic
Sudhindra claims his transport system can serve half a million passengers daily by using the existing railway tracks
Sridhar Vivan
 October 10, 2011 

Even as Namma Metro is set to chug from October 20, doubts linger on whether it can ease the traffic on Bangalore’s roads.

Addressing these doubts is N Sudhindra, a city-based architect for data storage and backup, with a proposal to use tram-trains on existing railway tracks to set up a distributed transport system (DTS) in the city. The DTS can cover 75 kilometres in the city using existing railway network and serve approximately half a million passengers every day. His idea is drawn from his stints in the US, Austria, Germany, France and Singapore.

According to Sudhindra’s proposal, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and South Western Railway (SWR) can partner to establish tram-train services for DTS. This joint venture can be on the lines of Europe Transport model followed in Austria and Germany. BMTC can avail railway tracks on rental basis for tram services.

For instance, a tram-train operating from Bangalore City Railway Station to Whitefield with six coaches can accommodate 900 passengers at the rate of 150 passengers — both sitting and standing — per coach. This can decongest traffic by taking off the roads 15 Volvo buses carrying 60 passengers each. The tram-train can approximately cover 30km/hour with limited stops at Cantonment and KR Puram.

The proposed DTS integrates existing railway tracks from Majestic to Whitefield, Yelahanka, Yeshwanthpur, Kengeri and Devanahalli. The BMTC can provide feeder services at end points. The 300 metres distance from Majestic Bus Stand to City Railway Station can be connected by tracks.

BMTC and SWR can jointly procure tram-trains. BMTC can pay rent for railway tracks based on the number of kilometers it runs the tram-trains. This would make the idea feasible and profitable to BMTC, Sudhindra claims. He estimates that the operating costs would be Rs 48 lakh per year, with a tram-train running every 15 minutes.

In the second phase, DTS can be extended to Bidadi, Hosur and Devanahalli.

What is a tram-train?

Tram-train is a hybrid of a tram and a train. It is able to run on existing rail lines as well as on the street, sharing the route with other road traffic and allowing travel between, around and directly into the heart of towns and cities. Tram-trains are typically powered by overhead electric cables and, less frequently, by diesel.


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