Even after the lockdown was lifted, SWR did not resume the Kempegowda International Airport train service because on an average, just around 20 persons purchased tickets each day to travel between Bengaluru and the halt station.
Although it started with much fanfare in January, the train services of the South Western Railway (SWR) to the halt station near Bengaluru international airport remain unused due to poor patronage since its launch till April, when the Covid-19 lockdown was imposed.
Even after the lockdown was lifted, SWR did not resume the Kempegowda International Airport train service because on an average, just around 20 persons purchased tickets each day to travel between Bengaluru and the halt station between January and April.
SWR introduced trains to the airport on January 4, 2021. According to the details shared by the SWR officials with The Indian Express, till April 20, only around 2,098 tickets were sold, earning a revenue of Rs 20,830.
SWR operated ten trains a day to and from the halt station which was connected with Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna Railway Station (Bengaluru City Railway Station), Cantonment, Yeshwantpur and Yelahanka. However, according to officials, there were instances of trains running empty and the SWR decided to suspend the service in the last week of April just after the Covid-19 second wave hit.
SWR Public Relations Officer Aneesh Hegde said, “The airport halt station was not shut but the services along the section was suspended during the second wave of Covid-19. The services have not been resumed as only 2,098 passengers travelled between January and April and we had very little earning.”
After a decade-long wait and public demand, train services were started to the airport from the city. The halt station and the airport are connected with a Bangalore International airport limited (BIAL)-operated shuttle bus service.
The tickets for the train were priced between Rs 10 and Rs 15. The halt station with modern facilities is located in the northwest corner of the airport campus with a 230-metre-long platform, a booking counter, concourse area, restrooms, parking area and bus bay.
In 2014, BIAL in collaboration with SWR had proposed a suburban rail service to the airport to the Karnataka government and recommended a halt station on the existing line that connects Yeshwantpur to Devanahalli for the convenience of airport passengers.
Meanwhile, SWR is planning to run MEMU trains on suburban routes, including between Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna (KSR) station and Bengaluru airport soon. SWR is also electrifying the Yelahanka–Devanahalli line, which will enable it to run MEMU trains to Kempegowda International Airport in the city. “We are examining to conduct a phase-wise restoration as per demand of various routes,” Aneesh added.
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