In Mumbai, high-speed corridor to connect CST with new airport

From ET Realty

MUMBAI: Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) will revise its detail project report (DPR) for the CST-Panvel high-speed rail corridor, planning the route along Palm Beach Road in Navi Mumbai, right up to the proposed airport. Originally, the corridor was proposed to run parallel to the Harbour Line tracks between Reay Road and Panvel.

MRVC’s chairman and managing director Prabhat Sahai said, “There is a shortage of space after construction of the Seawoods station building. Hence, the corridor can be smoothly executed if it runs along Palm Beach Road.” MRVC also plans to connect the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport with the high-speed corridor, which will have fully air-conditioned coaches. From Seawoods, an 8.5 km loop line would fork out in the direction of the proposed airport. Sahai said, “There will not be any major impact on the cost because of the changed alignment.”

However, the City Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) had planned a 25 km-long Metro corridor along the Palm Beach road between Vashi-Panvel, as recommended by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). An MRVC official said, “CIDCO will now have to drop their proposed Metro corridor as the suburban high-speed corridor will cater to areas near Palm Beach Road. After a detailed study we will know if the train corridor will come up on the median or west side of the road.”

The alignment may change at CST too if the MMRDA plans to extend the Eastern Freeway up to the GPO. If this succeeds, the high-speed AC corridor will have to be built through Mumbai Port Trust land between CST and Reay Road. The project is easier to execute because private land does not have to be acquired at all on the entire 49 km long stretch. The corridor will be elevated up to Kurla and will run at ground level from Mankhurd onwards.

The project is crucial to reducing the burden on the existing Harbour Line. The Harbour Line is currently saturated and operates only slow services. Moreover, the growth of Navi Mumbai, the proposed international airport as well as special economic zones are all expected to bring in a large number of commuters.

The new system is expected to have 21,000 peak hour-peak direction (PHPD) trips by 2019 and 39,000 by 2031. The official said, “We expect a 30% shift from the suburban line and 20% shift from road traffic once operations begin on the corridor.” The frequency of train services is now estimated at 4.5-5 minutes. The official said, “It will ensure at least 14 services per hour. Due to the continuous automatic train control, headway can be improved to 1.5 minutes without compromising on safety.”

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