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Bonanza for Mumbai rail commuters

?Fully satisfied,? beams Maharashtra chief minister

Business Standard 

Commuters in Mumbai got a bonanza from the railway budget, with the proposal for 75 additional services and 1,500 coaches for local trains, expansion of the suburban rail network and addition of more services.

The minister has proposed an elevated corridor from Churchgate to Virar. Trains with 12 cars are proposed on the harbour line for Navi Mumbai, where an international airport is being developed. Double-lining on Belapur-Seawood-Uran is in progress, providing direct passenger connectivity to the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (Navi Mumbai).

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who had given a wish list to Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi during a meeting on March 2, welcomed all these. He told Business Standard: “The proposals do full justice to Mumbai and Maharashtra. We are fully satisfied.”

The proposed elevated corridor from Churchgate to Virar is to be done through the public-private-participation (PPP) method with the government of Maharashtra. The project will enable introduction of premium air-conditioned suburban rail services. A pre- feasibility survey for a similar corridor between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Kalyan (55 km) is also proposed in due course.

A coaching complex in Navi Mumbai at Panvel and a coach maintenance complex at Kalamboli, in partnership with the state government’s City and Industrial Development Corporation are also planned. This will facilitate direct connectivity of Navi Mumbai to other parts of the country.

Modernising the electric traction system for suburban services has been done on the entire Western Railway portion through the city. Trivedi said similar conversion would be completed during 2012-13 on the Central Railway portion, which also extends to Pune. This would mean higher speed, reduced journey time and savings in operational cost.

The minister said phase-I of the flagship Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) had been completed, with investment of Rs 4,500 crore. Rail users in Mumbai had benefited with induction of 1,500 electric multiple unit coaches, increasing the carrying capacity by a third. Work on phase-II at a cost of Rs 5,300 crore is progressing. A schedule for MUTP-III had been prepared and Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation would do a feasibility study for construction of faster corridors on the CST (main)-Panvel and Virai-Vasai-Diva-Panvel sections.

A proposed 72-km Virar-Panvel third line in the PPP mode would open avenues for development of the city’s northern part and facilitate commuting between the eastern and western parts. The feasibility of a spur from Panvel to Navi Mumbai airport is to also be examined.

First Published: Thu, March 15 2012. 00:17 IST