Railways to take locals to very end of metropolitan region

Apr 07, 2012, 07:52 IST | Shashank Rao

To appoint consultant in six months for study on extension of suburban lines up to Bhiwandi, Thal, Alibaug and Uran

Your suburban train may go beyond Virar, Panvel, Karjat and Kasara in the years to come. The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) plans to develop suburban lines beyond these places so that commuters can go right up to Bhiwandi, Thal, Alibaug and Uran.

Local trains between Bhayander and Mira Road on the Western Line, where the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation wants to extend services beyond Virar. MRVC also wants to extend lines beyond Panvel, Karjat and Kasara on the Central Line

The railway authorities have decided to appoint a consultant to study possible new routes that will cater to the ever-growing number of train commuters on the suburban section. The consultant will be decided in about six months. The detailed study is expected to be completed within a year.

1st study after 1991
Such a study was last done over 20 years ago. In 1991, a report submitted to the Indian Railways proposed the suburban train lines beyond Kalyan and Borivli that today serve thousands of people every day. Since then, commuter numbers and needs have grown tremendously, necessitating a fresh study for a further extension of the lines.

“This study will take into consideration the various economic and financial developments at places beyond the far suburbs, the population growth and its spread, and other factors necessary to decide on the extension of suburban lines,” said a senior MRVC official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Railway lines are said to be the driving force behind the escalation of real estate prices.

“Railways are the lifelines of the metropolitan region as access to far-flung areas by road is time-consuming. Also, the builder lobby tends to hike real estate prices even if certain routes are announced.

So we want to ensure that before planning and starting any more lines, the consultant covers all aspects and defines the requirements of particular rail lines over the next 20 years,” said another railway official, also requesting anonymity.

Vision 2031
The extended railway lines have been proposed keeping in mind the needs of commuters up to 2031. The implementation will be done on the basis of five-year plans.

A couple of futuristic lines are already in the offing, among them the fast corridor on the CST-Panvel Harbour line that will connect the proposed new airport in Panvel and Virar-Vasai-Diva-Panvel suburban line.

Only a few months ago, the state government and the MRVC had held discussions to consider new lines for the Thane-Bhiwandi, Panvel-Uran, Diva-Panvel, Kharkopar-Jite, Panvel-Karjat, Panvel-Jite-Thal and Thal-Alibaug routes, which will extend the network right up to the borders of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

Expansion plan
The study to be done before the project is taken up will look at aspects like the extension of rail corridors, additional tracks on existing corridors, and extension of platform lengths to accommodate 15-car trains
New lines under consideration are Thane-Bhiwandi, Panvel-Uran, Diva-Panvel, Kharkopar-Jite, Panvel-Karjat, Panvel-Jite-Thal and Thal-Alibaug
Also part of the plan are additional lines on the Kalyan-Karjat/Kasara and Virar-Dahanu stretches 

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