The wait for intercity suburban electric train services on the Mysuru-Bengaluru section, which will benefit thousands of commuters, is set to get longer.
The work on the 220 kV transmission line from Yeliyuru substation to Tubinakere, a stretch of 4 km, is yet to commence though the Ministry of Railways deposited ₹13.09 crore to the Karnataka Power Transmission Ltd. (KPTCL) exactly a year ago. A letter dated March 23, 2017, written by the railway authorities to KPTCL, sought immediate commencement of the transmission line works by finalising the tenders. This would enable commission of electric traction and introduction of the Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) services on the Bengaluru-Mysuru section.
The project entailed establishing railway traction substations to feed overhead electric traction in the section; at Bidadi, Yeliyuru and Mysuru. Though the railway was initially advised to execute the project on its own by KPTCL, it could not be completed as it is not the domain expertise of the railways. Hence it reverted to KPTCL, which has expertise in laying transmission line and it has now promised to expedite the process.
A senior official told that 220 kV line was mandatory to operate MEMU services. Without this, only 1 or 2 trains can be operated at a point of time given the present electricity feed from the Bidadi substation. Once the Yeliyuru substation is connected with the 220 kV line at Tubinakere, there will be sufficient load to operate additional trains, he added.
The public is infuriated by the delayed response by KPTCL, a State government body. Incidentally, the project has been completed on a cost-sharing basis with the government chipping in 50% of the cost of electrification (about ₹220 crore).
Though the electrified lines have been commissioned and six pairs of long distance trains are now operational, railway authorities say MEMU services cannot be operated with the present power supply. “MEMU electric services has advantages like better acceleration and faster service,” said the official. “The Tubinakere power line will enable us to operate 6 pairs to 10 pairs of MEMU services,” he added.