MRVC officials in Delhi to get Mumbai’s railway network its due

मुंबई Mumbai: In a forceful bid to get the Rs 11,000-crore phase 3 of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) into the railway budget, top officials of the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) were in Delhi over the past couple of days holding meetings with Railway Board officials.

With Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis having cleared phase 3 on January 8 and railway minister Suresh Prabhu seen as someone keen on big-ticket projects, railway officials in the city are optimistic that the budget won’t be a damp squib like some of the previous budgets have been for city creaking railway system.

The new truncated version of phase 3 of the MUTP might not be as expansive as the Rs 54,000 crore plan that was initially thought up in 2010 but officials said that it still had the potential to bring about a positive change in suburban commuting.

The biggest project under phase 3 is the creation of two new lines between Virar and Dahanu to allow railways to run more suburban trains on the section as well as more passenger trains.

Among the big projects in it is the creation of a Panvel-Karjat suburban line. The route, currently a single line used by trains like the Pune-Ernakulam and Pune-Bhusawal express, if upgraded and converted to a suburban line can cut the distance between CST and Karjat from 100 kilometres to just 77 kilometres. It would also give relief thousands of commuters who need to get to Navi Mumbai from Karjat by making the cross-over at Thane to switch on to the Transharbour line or Kurla to hop onto the Harbour line.

Another project under phase 3 is the Airoli-Kalwa connector. The connector, an elevated rail line about 4 kms in length, will allow more people to reach Navi Mumbai without putting added pressure on the already-congested Thane station.

“Currently people have to come to Thane and then take the Thane-Vashi route- also called transharbour- to get to Navi Mumbai. The other option of course is the longer one to go to Kurla and then opt for the conventional harbour line.all the way to Panvel, The plan is one where we are enabling more people to reach Navi Mumbai and the more important part is that some of the crowding that occurs in Thane can be lessened” said the official.

The upside for the project is that it does not require much land acquisition as the elevated bridge will run on railway land parcel available as part of the Kalwa carshed.

The phase 3 also includes an ambitious plan to completely redevelop 20 suburban stations and also bring about infrastructure development at and between 12 chosen stations to reduce the problem of people crossing tracks and getting run over by trains. Phase 3 will also see the buying of new rakes, this time with automatic sliding doors, said officials.