Mumbai wants Rs 11,441 crore slice of the Railway Budget pie

Railway authorities from the city are hoping Suresh Prabhu’s Railway Budget to be presented tomorrow gives the go-ahead for the seven projects they have proposed, including new lines, coaches, and station makeovers

All eyes are on the BJP-led government as it prepares to present its first budgets Railway and Union in the coming days. Railway authorities have sent proposals worth more than Rs 11,000 crore for approval and mention in the Railway Budget, which will be presented by Suresh Prabhu tomorrow.

A steam engine on display outside Churchgate station gets a fresh coat of paint ahead of the Railway Budget. Pic/Atul Kamble
A steam engine on display outside Churchgate station gets a fresh coat of paint ahead of the Railway Budget. Pic/Atul Kamble

Authorities from the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation have included seven new projects to the railway ministry, as part of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project-III. Sources said the collective cost of these seven projects, which includes laying new railway lines, would be Rs 11,441 crore.

MRVC has been coordinating with the Railway Board in this regard, and is seeking approval and mention in the forthcoming budget. mid-day takes a look at some of the proposed projects, which look to address key issues in the city’s suburban system.

Virar-Dahanu new lines
Cost: Rs 3,555 crore
This 60-km long route sees at least 20 suburban local trains daily. There are several long-distance and Mail trains that halt at nine stations end-to-end between Virar and Dahanu. “We want to segregate the suburban system from long-distance ones right up to Dahanu,” said a Western Railway official.

Thus, two new lines (3 & 4) on this stretch will enable all long-distance trains starting from Mumbai Central and Bandra Terminus to run without any halts or disturbance to suburban trains. Currently, whenever a long-distance train enters Mumbai at Virar especially during peak hours it tends to affect the local train schedule.

File pic for representation

From the time of planning, when it was pegged at Rs 2,558 crore, this project is expected to empty the coffers by Rs 3,555 crore. 77,000 people use locals to travel between Dahanu and Churchgate.

Airoli-Kalwa connector
Cost: Rs 428 crore
One of the shortest suburban rail routes, this would prove a vital one for Mumbaikars as it connects the Main line with the Trans-Harbour corridor. “This will be a completely elevated corridor that would cost at least Rs 428 crore at the time of its completion,” said a railway official. At the time of planning, its cost was pegged at Rs 356 crore.

The Airoli-Kalwa line is slated to be 8 km long, and will be in addition to the existing Thane-Vashi link. This connector will allow more people to reach Navi Mumbai without putting added pressure on the already-congested Thane station, which is used by 6 lakh people every day.

“Currently people have to come to Thane and then take the Thane-Vashi route to get to Navi Mumbai. Here, the frequency of train services is less. The other option is to go to Kurla and then switch to the Harbour line all the way to Panvel.

This connector won’t require much land, as the elevated bridge will run on railway land available as part of the Kalwa car shed,” said a Central Railway official.

Panvel-Karjat doubling
Cost: Rs 2,024 crore
Both these railway stations are the last points of the Main and Harbour lines on Central Railway’s suburban system. Panvel has been growing and the railways have planned a terminus there, in order to connect to the proposed international airport. There is also the proposed fast corridor connecting to CST.

Sources said that there has been tremendous growth in passengers using the extended suburbs beyond Thane and Vashi, and further north. “We have seen a growth of nearly 40,000 commuters using these suburbs every day. There is a need to expand on the east-west line, too,” said an MRVC official.

Sources said that at the time of planning, the project cost was R1561 crore, which is expected to touch R2,024 crore by completion. Officials said that currently there is a 28.15-km single track that connects Panvel with Karjat, going through talukas of Panvel, Khalapur and Karjat in Raigad district.

This line caters mainly to goods trains and a few long-distance passenger trains, but lacks a suburban system. There shall be five proposed stations Panvel, Chikale, Mohape, Chowk and Karjat that according to a feasibility study, also shows 53 bridges and 2 tunnels.

Makeover for stations
Cost: Rs 1,950 crore
The state government has approved a holistic makeover of 20 railway stations of Mumbai. This plan has been put up for approval with the Railway ministry.

These 20 stations would be Bhayander, Mira Road, Borivli, Goregaon, Andheri, Bandra, Dadar, Lower Parel, Mumbai Central on the western line; Shahad, Kalyan, Dombivli, Thane, Mulund, Ghatkopar, Kurla, Dadar on the Central Main line and Chembur and Wadala on Harbour line.

These stations would be renovated to ensure more space and better facilities like escalators, foot over bridges, ATVMs, etc, and also connect commuters to other transport modes such as the Metro rail or buses to provide seamless travel. The cost during planning stages was R1,500 crore; this is now expected to touch R1,950 crore by completion.

Trespass control
Cost: Rs 520 crore
The railways, in a bid to reduce deaths due to trespassing on the tracks, have proposed measures for which they expect to spend Rs 520 crore. “Initially these will be implemented at 12 stations,” said an official. The initial cost was Rs 400 crore. Preliminary work for the trespassing control project at 12 suburban stations is expected to begin in May.

Railways have identified 12 stations where trespass control measures will be implemented. File pic for representation
Railways have identified 12 stations where trespass control measures will be implemented. File pic for representation

The project includes installation of escalators, elevators, building of new foot over bridges. Authorities have identified trespass-prone areas and the reasons on the basis of accident data and field visits. A total of 26 escalators, 12 FOBS, 8 elevators are expected to be installed at these select stations. Green patches will be developed in between tracks or at the end of platforms.

New coaches, technical works
Cost: Rs 2,964 crore
The railways also plan to get new coaches for local trains at an estimated cost of Rs 2,899 crore.

World Bank has expressed its displeasure at the delay in procuring the new Bombardier rakes. File pic
World Bank has expressed its displeasure at the delay in procuring the new Bombardier rakes. File pic

Procurement of the new Bombardier rakes under MUTP has already been delayed, for which the railways has received flak from World Bank, which is funding the project.

The two bodies are meeting to review the situation and the cause for the delay. Besides this, R65 crore has also been pitched as expenditure for technical works.

The 7 projects
Panvel-Karjat doubling: Rs 2,024 cr
Airoli-Kalwa elevated: Rs 428 cr
Virar-Dahanu lines 3, 4: Rs 3,555 cr
Station development: Rs 1,950 cr
Trespass control: Rs 520 cr
Technical works: Rs 65 cr
New coaches: Rs 2,899 cr

77,000
The number of people who use locals to travel between Dahanu and Churchgate

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