Western Railway’s elevated corridor may have 8-car services, instead of the planned 15-car, due to obstacles in land acquisition. The authorities feel that the shorter the train’s length, the less area will be required to build platforms.
An official explained that having 8-car services will not reduce the passenger carrying capacity. He said, “The frequency of 15-car services was to be three minutes, or 20 per hour. But the 8-car services will be every two minutes or 30 per hour.”
The railways are reworking the project’s finer points after the state government raised a red flag on its offer to allow commercial exploitation of its land parcels.
It has issued a modified project information report, in which it has deleted land parcels at various spots in Mumbai Central, Mahalaxmi, Lower Parel, Bandra, Santa Cruz, Andheri, Jogeshwari and Borivli, whose cumulative area adds up to 1.32 square metres.
A railway official said, “After receiving feedback from interested parties, we are open to allowing multi-storey towers above station premises, which will substantially help generate funds for the project worth Rs 21,000 crore at present cost. After this option is utilized, we can think of offering land from our parcels.”
An alternative alignment has been proposed after a joint visit of WR’s general manager Mahesh Kumar and state chief secretary Jayant Kumar Banthia recently. At Vile Parle, where there is a paucity of land, the railways are considering to take the project underground, or build it at a height of five metres from ground level. This is being done to ensure that the elevated tracks do not come in the path of the airport funnel.
The possibility of a change in alignment between Malad and Borivli to reduce the requirement of acquisition and razing of buildings is also being examined.
The state government may give the railways the right of way on roads adjoining railway tracks in these areas, a source said. The railways had planned to acquired 25 hectares on a 60km stretch between the Oval Maidan and Virar. Banthia said the rehabilitation approach should be litigation-free to avoid delays in project execution.