For decades now, the suburban railway networks — running from Dahanu to Churchgate on the western line, Kasara and Khopoli to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) on the central line and from Panvel on the harbour line — have been congested owing to increased number of passengers.
That these lines run on the north-south direction and there are no railway lines to allow passengers to move from east-west have been a source of grouse. That will, hopefully, start changing in another decade. The state and central railway authorities have, on the drawing board, plans to expand rail networks in the city (not just trains, but also through the Metro and monorail).
This, they hope, will not only provide more commuting platforms, but also create new residential and work areas that will help decongest the overcrowded city. “The new rail lines will create a scope for expanding the residential and commercial rates of land in the extended towns beyond Mumbai. This is needed for widening the scope of Mumbai,” said a railway official. Here are the new routes to look forward to.
New Metro Lines
The MMRDA has already planned nine metro routes across Mumbai of which the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar track is ready and two more are in the inception stage —Dahisar East-Andheri East (16.50 km) and Dahisar East-Charkop-DN Nagar —Mankhurd (18.60 km).
This will be completed by 2019. The construction of underground metro line three from Colaba-Bandra-Seepz (to be completed by 2019) is in progress and the line might be extended from Seepz to Kanjurmarg. Officials say, initially, they will work on construction of these nine metro routes depending on demand. But then, there are proposals for more in the metropolitan region.
“These will be in the offing in the next 25-30 years as they are long-term projects,” said UPS Madan, Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA. Sources say new detailed project reports will be prepared after working out comprehensive plans. “There are chances of connecting these suburban rails that would then create a complete ring route transport for people in near future,” said another MMRDA official.
The Wadala-Ghatkopar-Teen Hath Naka (Thane)-Kasarwadavli Metro rail has been proposed. This 32-km-long metro rail — 27 km underground and 5 km elevated — will connect Mumbai with Thane. It is expected to benefit 12 lakh passengers by 2031, wherein these metro trains will cover this distance in 64 minutes.
Continuing with Mono
Although the existing Monorail — Phase 2 will run between Wadala and Jacob Circle — is touted to be the last Monorail; there are chances of one more.
The MMRDA had plans for the Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan monorail which will connect the metropolitan region and also extend near railway stations there.
This will be an extension of the Western Railway route. MRVC has planned third and fourth lines which will help separate long-distance trains from suburban ones. At current estimates, it will cost Rs 2,558 crores, of which Rs 2,000 crores will come from a World Bank loan. The rest will be shared equally by the railway ministry and state government. Once the work on the various lines starts, it is estimated that it will take six years to be completed.
This will be a new line connecting the harbour and main central line. It will cut the distance between CST and Karjat from 100 km to 77 km. It is estimated to cost Rs 1,500 crores, of which World Bank will loan of Rs 1,200 crores.
Elevated Airoli-Kalwa connector
This is slated to be a new route on the trans-harbour line. The connector, an elevated line of about 4 km, will provide greater connectivity to Navi Mumbai. It is aimed at decongesting Thane and Vashi stations. Project estimate is Rs 356 crore.
This line will cut across the western, central and harbour lines. At present, there are goods trains and diesel electric multiple unit (DEMU) trains that ply on this route, but a separate suburban corridor will change the demographics of this region.