Friday, October 31, 2014


Nelamangala journey gets comfy with morning train



Nelamangala journey gets comfy with morning train
The new train will leave Bangalore City station at 7.15 am and reach Nelamangala at 8.15 a.m. On its return, it will leave Nelamangala at8.30 am and reach Bangalore City by 9.30 am.
SWR heeds passenger protests against unpopular afternoon train, starts one in morning

The South-Western Railway is introducing a new peak-hour Bangalore-Nelamangala train. According to SWR, the new train will leave Bangalore City station at 7.15 am and reach Nelamangala at around 8.15 a.m. On its return, it will leave Nelamangala at 8.30 am and reach Bangalore city station by 9.30 am.

The train, which was announced by Railway Minister D V Sadananda Gowda in his maiden Railway Budget, will start its services from November 1.

The new train comes at a time when three 'local' trains to the exurbs of Devanahalli and Nelamangala, and Hosur in Tamil Nadu, are regularly shuttling empty simply because they have been scheduled to run at off-peak hours. There have been several protests by commuters demanding rescheduling of the trains. The protests seem to have worked.

The afternoon train service, which was introduced last year (which will continue to operate), has failed to attract commuters. Sources said it was operating under heavy loss. In fact, Mirror had done a test-ride last year (The right train with the wrong timings, BM, May 2, 2013) when we counted 27 commuters on board the 12.20 pm passenger (No. 56579 unreserved) from City Railway Station to Nelamangala.

This was in sharp contrast to the buses (more than 50 services in a day) which were packed with commuters, besides the thousands of vehicles plying between Nelamangala and Bangalore city.

Surprisingly, SWR is charging just Rs 12 for the new train trip (it was Rs 5 last year), in contrast to the BMTC Volvo ticket of Rs 95 (travel time: one hour, 15 minutes), ordinary BMTC/KSRTC ticket of Rs 28 (travel time: one hour, 25 minutes), and autorickshaw fare of Rs 500. Travel on this 'exurban' train costs much less than the cheapest bus ride. Since it's an unreserved passenger (train no. yet to be released), advance booking is not possible, although affordable monthly passes are available. With postcard-perfect views, shorter commute time, and no smog or smoke of congested roads, it's a journey which sounds too good to be true.

Rakesh S, a techie residing in Nelamangala, said, "This is definitely good news for us. Now, we will lobby BMTC to introduce a bus to the railway station which is a kilometre away from town. Till now, travelling during peak hours was a mess because of frequent jams. Besides, the train route connects to many engineering colleges which is a boon to students."

The commuters also want SWR to shift the existing train that runs in the afternoon to the evening so that those returning home at that time can benefit.

A monthly pass is not just economical, but also save time from standing in queue for a ticket. Just one train in the morning will not help us. So we request a shift in the afternoon train timings," added Kiran S, a commuter.

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