Elevated Corridors for Suburban Rail in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru: Piyush Goyal

NEW DELHI: An ambitious plan for elevated corridors over existing rail tracks in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru that will improve safety and decongest networks is being considered by the railways in partnership with state governments and central agencies.

Preliminary estimates have pegged the cost of an elevated corridor in Mumbai at around Rs 25,000 crore and the state-run transporter hopes to complete the project in the next 3-5 years. The elevated track will come up over the existing Mumbai suburban rail system and be spread over nearly 425km in length, excluding the single-line Metro and a short monorail system.

“For Mumbai, DFCC (Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation) has already given a preliminary report, now we will put formal teams in place. For Bengaluru, I have told the railways… they are looking into this,” railway minister Piyush Goyal told in an interview, adding a study has been commissioned for Delhi as well.

Asked whether the railways will partner with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) for the Delhi project, Goyal said, “All options are open. It is a preliminary stage. Let the studies and costing come.”

Goyal said elevated tracks equipped with elevators and escalators will make suburban rail travel safe as trespassing will not happen and the system will help differently-abled passengers. The construction of elevated corridors also includes developing shopping malls and commercial spaces.

The Union minister said he has discussed raising the floor space index with Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to facilitate vertical development over existing stations.

‘Delhi’s 35km ring railway will be revived’

Plans have also been drawn up to revive Delhi’s 35-km ring railway by constructing elevated tracks as well as modernizing and redeveloping stations. Goyal has asked officials to conduct a study to finalize the revamp plan at the earliest. A source said RITES was likely to conduct the study.

The ring railway, constructed in 1975 to bypass the crowded Old Delhi, New Delhi and Hazrat Nizamuddin stations, has been in neglect. The minister said the plan will help decongest stations in Delhi and ensure long distance trains are able to stick to their schedule as existing tracks will be freed for them.

An official said the ring railway comprising 21 stations will help decongest the national capital and also reduce air pollution once it is connected with Delhi Metro corridors.

The revival of the ring railway was announced in the railway budget.

The official said the study will examine the existing master plan and land use plan on the route, with proposed and upcoming transport infrastructure and system plans.

Information on existing freight and passenger traffic on ring railway, in terms of frequency, capacity, coaches and utilisation will be collected and plans for redevelopment of stations and monetisation of land assets around the corridor will also be studied.