The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Mumbai Urban Transport Project Phase-III (MUTP III) that is aimed at boosting rail infrastructure in Thane, Palghar, Raigad and Mumbai districts of Maharashtra.
The MUTP-III involves expansion of the suburban rail network up to Dahanu by constructing third and fourth lines between Virar and Dahanu (63km), Airoli-Kalwa connector (4km) and doubling of Panvel-Karjat line (28km).
The Western Railway operates suburban services between Virar and Dahanu on the busy mainline Mumbai-Ahmedabad/Delhi route, which is over-saturated.
"Main line is already over-saturated and there is no scope for supplementing suburban services on this line. Construction of additional Virar-Dahanu Road double line will address the demand of commuters in this region. This will provide extension of suburban services from Churchgate to Dahanu Road," said an official release.
The release further said: "Panvel-Karjat line will provide alternate route from Karjat to CSTM via Panvel, which will be shorter by 23 km than the existing route via Kalyan and will reduce travel time between CSTM to Karjat by 35 to 40 minutes by slow trains."
At present, passengers commuting from Kalyan to Vashi or Panvel have to get down at Thane station and take Trans Harbour Link, which results in congestion at the Thane station, which is already a busy station on the Central Railway.
"Airoli-Kalwa corridor will reduce congestion at Thane station and will also save time as these passengers can travel bypassing Thane," said the release.
It further said that the procurement of new coaches will enhance the quality of service and the works proposed under trespass control at 22 locations will reduce trespass significantly.
"The estimated cost of project is Rs 8,679 crore with completion cost of Rs 10,947 crore. The project is expected to be completed in the next 5 years during 13th Plan period," it added.
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