NAGPUR: City MP and Union minister Nitin Gadkari’s plan to start high speed local trains between Nagpur and four nearby towns — Bhandara, Wardha, Katol and Ramtek — is set to be a reality soon.
For planning and execution of the project, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) will be executed between Indian Railways, Maharashtra government and MahaMetro on July 16.
Gadkari, railway minister Piyush Goyal, minister of state (independent charge) for urban development Hardeep Singh Puri, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and other dignitaries will be present at the MoU signing ceremony organized at Nagpur Municipal Corporation’s (NMC) Suresh Bhat Hall.
MahaMetro managing director Brijesh Dixit told that the project would be first-of-its-kind in the nation. “High speed fully air-conditioned coaches will run under the project. All formalities like timings, number of trips, revenue sharing pattern, special stations etc will be decided after the MoU,” he said.
The plan is to run three-coach electric multiple units (EMUs) to these towns with four on each route. The average speed of city to Ramtek passenger train is 27km per hour, while that of Gondia passenger train is 50km per hour. The plan is to run EMUs at 120km per hour. MahaMetro will use existing tracks, signalling, platform etc of railways for the services.
Refuting allegations by former BJP MP and current MPCC vice-president Nana Patole and activist Prashant Pawar, Dixit said MahaMetro will also have to start Pune Metro Rail’s priority section with rental coaches.
Patole had alleged that MahaMetro’s joyrides are benefiting only L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad Limited (LTMRHL). He added that MahaMetro is paying Rs45 crore as hiring charges for six coaches to LTMRHL for three years.
“Coaches, signalling system etc are not made in the country, hence, we so depended on foreign countries. We have to place orders only after getting loans. We are likely to get three coaches in September. It will take 6-7 months more for certification etc. Till then, we cannot wait and render the entire infrastructure unutilized,” he said.
Dixit added that payment of Rs15 crore has been made to LTMRHL. “We could not take coaches from Chennai as our platform’s design is for three coaches, while Chennai has a set of four coaches,” he said.
Dixit said one of two sets of three coaches each will be moved to Hingna-Subhash Nagar T-point corridor once the works are completed.
He said Metro Rail will begin operation from Munje Square in Sitabuldi to Khapri in March 2019.
On Wednesday, MahaMetro operated electrical shunting vehicle ‘Buland’ on the elevated stretch between Airport and Airport South stations. It is the first of the elevated stretches where works have been completed and ready for trial run.
In April, MahaMetro started Metro Rail joyrides between Airport South and Khapri stations, that is at grade stretch.