There have been many discussions off and on on creating a Suburban railway network for the city and such discussions were going on for very long time and time has come to put it into some form of action following all the existing rules and regulations and modifying them with respect to modern needs.
The above is a railway map of Bangalore drawn by me some time back and it gives a fine blue-print of the existing infrastructure.See an inner ring connectivity around Hebbal which is note-worthy and a similar external ring must also be created which means laying of new railway tracks which with modern day technology is a lot easier.
There were many Suburban railway experiments in Bangalore to my observation but remained unsuccessful as they never became popular for the public something that needs to be researched upon but gave authorities the insight and experience to plan better in the future..
Why is a Suburban railway system not successful ? Reason 1; the large distance between one station to another which commuters feel unacceptable....Reason 2 the need to stand in large queues to get Railway tickets....Reason 3 ..improper access to Railway platforms...Reason 4 ..lack of proper public relations and support at railway Stations for Commuters seeking Information..Reason 5..A general lack of Marketing and apathy..Reason 6.. a perception of the railway system for large journeys as against short ones.
Can we undo this ? Instead of calling Suburban rail as Suburban Rail it should instead be called as Rail Bus with three to four specially designed bogies with Bus numbers which indicate source and destination and intermediate points and operating very frequently.
Every two kilometers Suburban Stations must be set up and the Rail Bus stopping at these Stations..Every bogie must have a Conductor who issues tickets, a proper Security infrastructure within the bogies and a very fast and frequent service. The existing Metro and Bus Stops must be synchronised with these Railway system for last mile connectivity . Rail Buses must be painted differently and uniquely for Commuters to quickly identify them and these Buses must park themselves in the centre of the platform so that quick access can be obtained.
There are many Railway Stations in Bangalore which do not have proper access facilities to them which must be remedied. Skyways should lead from the external of the Station to a vantage point within the Station.This would create Security issues with unwanted elements getting into the station.Users of rail Bus must be given one time identity cards which must be swiped to gain entry and the person entering the system must be identified even through other Security procedures.
Special coaches must be created for Rail Bus..they must look unique and could be of fiber and other strong plastics and the average speed could be around 50 kmph.
For the Rail Bus to work the concept must be used within a radius of 30 kms from City Central station and any other trains plying beyond these routes should be called Push-Pull or by any other nomenclature.
Synchronisation with Main Railway system would be a major challenge as the existing tracks would be loaded with new trains creating signalling problems and other maintenance issues. Incoming long Distance trains must note that they are passing special zone and take necessary precaitions especially during day time.
Note that the use of the railway system would work cheaper for commuters and reduce wear and tear on Metro and BMTC because of reduced load factor. My brother Sunil who is also an Engineer was an advocate of the Rail Bus much before.
I will give a simple problem of Commuting in Bangalore.Electronic City is an important hub in Bangalore and any one residing in Kengeri and working in Electronic city will have to use the bus network from Kengeri which would take more than an hour. A Railway link of some kind would make Commuting much easier.
Eventually a Ring Railway network must be created around the city. This would be a difficult task considering land acquisition and other parameters but would provide long term advantages in routing of all kinds of trains.
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