According to a report presented to the Railway Board and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan by the city’s railway officials in December, there is ample scope for vertical development at railway stations along the planned fast corridor on the Harbour line. Work on the Rs 14,000- crore project is expected to begin by April 2014 and operations will commence by the year 2019.
The development of this space into commercial and office properties is expected to generate around Rs 550 crore. “In case of any delays in work, the amount expected to be generated from real estate development of this space can touch Rs 1,800 crore by 2021,” said a senior railway official.
At present, only four stations, namely Mankhurd, Nerul, Belapur and Kharghar will undergo commercial development, with a FSI of two. The railways expect to run 8-car air-conditioned trains on this route that can carry 21,000 passengers each way in peak hour peak direction traffic (PHPDT) by 2019, and 39,000 passengers by 2031. This will go up to 90,000 PHPDT by 2061.
Of the 49 km, around 42.4-km will be elevated and the rest will be on surface. One arm of this corridor will go reach towards the proposed Navi Mumbai airport in Panvel, which will be around 8.5-kms in length. For long, the Central Railway (CR) and its nodal agency Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) have been speaking of commercially developing lands close to the railway stations. “Quite often, once the railway lines are developed, the property prices skyrocket but neither the developers nor the government share any profits. So we want to generate revenue from developing the land space,” said a railway official.
Of the five million square feet, 3.3 million square feet will comprise depots where trains will be maintained and parked. This land will be developed with retail, commercial and office spaces. Railway stations will occupy the remaining 1.7 million square feet.
Even the stations will undergo major changes, so as to fit in with the skyscrapers that will flank them. Presently, office spaces are available at a few stations in Navi Mumbai beyond Vashi towards Panvel. “The proposed airport will be coming up in Navi Mumbai and so we are looking at developing office and commercial spaces there. There is scope for high-end hotels as well,” added the railway official.
Sources in MRVC claim that there is scope to expand the development at more stations as well in future. They will be asking the state government to assist them in procuring 1.67 million square feet in Mumbai and an additional 5.53 million square feet in Navi Mumbai from the Indian Railways. Vinay Mittal, chairman of the Railway Board, said, “The MRVC has made a project report. It is expected to get approval from the state government and will be submitted to the Ministry of Railways for further processing.”
Running time of trains on the proposed fast corridor will be around 50 minutes with an average speed of 60 kmph and maximum speed of 100 kmph. Trains will halt at 11 stations on this route. Eight-car trains will ply with a headway of two minutes. Around Rs 955 crore will be spent to develop the additional 8.5 km rail line from Panvel till the proposed Navi Mumbai airport. Private developers will bring in 60% funds while the state government and railway ministry will contribute 10% each, with a viability gap funding of 20%.