Terming it as a gift from the Indian Railways to Bengaluru flyers, Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal on Monday announced that a halt railways station is coming up near Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru.
Taking to Twitter, Goyal said, “Railways’ Gift to Bengaluru Flyers: Fulfilling decade-old demand of people, a halt Railway Station is coming up near Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru
Providing relief from road traffic, this facility will allow people to comfortably travel to the airport.”
The railway station will be at a distance of two to three kilometers from the airport and a free shuttle service will be plying between the two for the flyers. All six trains running on this section of the railways will halt at the stoppage point near the airport.
Earlier in July, the official Twitter handle of the Indian Railways had announced that the work on the Railway Station will be completed by August 2020.
Currently, passengers rely on road transport to commute between the airport and the main city. The distance between Bengaluru’s Central Business District and the Kempegowda International Airport is 40 kilometers.
The announcement comes as a relief for flyers as well as those who work at the International Airport. The demand for a railway station near the airport has been long standing for over 10 years.
KIA halt station opening pushed to September
Thanks to Corona-induced labour shortage, the proposed Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) halt station remains incomplete. The opening of the railway station has been put off to next month, missing a series of deadlines since December 2019. The station, which is 4.5km from the airport, will facilitate commute to and from the airport.
The halt station, coming up at a cost of Rs 3 crore, on the Yelahanka-Chikkaballapur Line, is positioned between Yelahanka and Devanahalli railway stations. Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) is carrying out construction work on land provided by the Railways.
A senior railway official said, “We are confident of declaring the station open any time after mid-September. It got delayed due to various reasons including labour availability.” The station building will have a platform, shelter for it, a ticketing counter, ramp, open parking, 10 water sinks, 10 benches, toilets and an approach road, he added.
Railways had given in-principle approval to BIAL to go ahead with construction in June 2019 with December 2019 set as the deadline. It was postponed to February 2020, then April 10 was fixed as the opening date. With work grinding to a halt due to the lockdown and the pandemic, the fresh deadline given was August which now stands postponed.
Divisional Railway Manager, Bengaluru Division, Ashok Kumar Verma said, “No one has given us a target to open the station. These are deadlines we are trying to meet. Among other reasons, there is a labour crunch due to the corona epidemic. However, the delay is not going to affect anyone as regular suburban services are not operational anywhere in the country.” Two pairs of passenger trains along the Kolar-Yelahanka line as well as one pair that ran along the Whitefield and Kolar line will stop here, another official said.
On shuttle services from the halt station to the airport, a senior BMTC official told TNIE, “We have still not finalised any schedule. This is a different kind of operation in which we need many buses at one time at the spot. Only after the specific trains that will halt here are finalized, will BMTC be able to narrow down on the number of buses required.” Asked if the shuttle service would be free, the official said, “As of now, I think it will be paid for by passengers.” BIAL refrained from any comment.