In a move that is expected to benefit airport employees as well as air passengers, the railway halt station on the boundary of Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) will be ready at the end of August. This will enable South Western Railway (SWR) to give a stoppage for trains being operated on the Yelahanka-Bangarpet line.
For over a decade, citizens of Bengaluru have been demanding a mass transit network to the KIA. At present, a majority of air passengers rely on road transport, especially taxis and personal cars, to reach the airport, which is located more than 35 km from the CBD.
“Work on the halt station is nearing completion. Prior to the imposition of lockdown, three pairs of trains were running on that line. Once the train services resume, we will provide a stoppage at the halt station. BIAL promises to run a free shuttle service every 15 minutes from the station to the airport. They have already repaired the road leading to the halt station. The journey time from the station to the airport is around eight minutes,” said Ashok Kumar Verma, Divisional Railway Manager (Bengaluru).
BIAL is bearing the cost of the station, which is ₹3 crore. Various amenities for passengers, such as ticket counters and waiting lounge, are coming up.
In addition to air passengers, the trains are expected to help hundreds of employees working at the airport.
Prajwal Kumar, a rail enthusiast, said, “Hundreds of employees, who are based in Kolar, commute to the airport every day spending over ₹200 per day. Once the halt station becomes operational, they can reach there by spending ₹25 to ₹30.”
Under the suburban rail project, the Karnataka Rail Infrastructure Development enterprises (K-RIDE) had planned to build a rail network from KSR Bengaluru to Devenahalli (48 km) via Yeshwantpur and Yelahanka. The project is awaiting final nod from the Central government.
Meanwhile, the BMRCL is planning to extend the metro line from K.R. Puram to KIA via Nagawara and Hebbal. It has acquired properties on many stretches of the alignment. The BMRCL is waiting for approval from the Central government to begin work on the project.