After more than six years of demand, a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Karnataka State Government and the Ministry of Railways for a suburban rail system. Apart from signing the MoU, Union Railways ministe Suresh Prabhu also confirmed that for the suburban rail project a special company will be set up and that the project will be financed through an ‘innovative’ way.


As per the draft of the suburban rail policy, the financial pattern for this project will be 20% funds from the Central government and 80% from the state government. Raising his concern over this pattern, CM Siddaramaiah stated that this would be a burden on the state. However, he also mentioned that the state government is open to the idea of getting private partners to complete this project. 


Apart from the this, here is everything else that you need to know about the suburban or new ‘local’ trains of Bengaluru.


1. Currently, the commercial run of the Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) trains have started on a limited segment of the proposed suburban rail route connecting Ramanagara, Whitefield, and Kuppam to Bangalore City railway station.


2. For the suburban rail service, the railway land located at Banaswadi will be used for the maintenance of 15 pairs of Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) trains, and it should take more than one year to get them upgraded.


3. In Jai Bharat Nagar Road in Banaswadi, the railways have a 100 acres of land - where five pit lines will be created to house the MEMU trains. 


4. Each of the Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) will have 12 coaches whereas the regular trains have 10 to 11 coaches. MEMUs will run on electricity making them eco-friendly unlike the regular trains that run on diesel.


5. At present, the Railways Ministry has proposed to replace the conventional coached of 15 pairs of current running trains to make them 12-car MEMU trains to allow more people to travel.


6. The cost-sharing is an issue while making the suburban rail system a reality. The Karnataka state government requested for 50:50 ratio for Special Purpose vehicle (SPV) that will be coordinating the execution of the project. However, the central ministry proposed an equity share of 20% each between the Centre and the state government. Rest 60% will be arranged through loan and other sources. 

Currently, the project depends upon rapid development of the railways land available in Banaswadi and it will take more than a year’s time.