The Maharashtra government is eager to fast-track the high-speed railway network from CST to Panvel as the decks slowly clear for the Navi Mumbai international airport and the Churchgate-Virar rail corridor gets pushed to the brink of abandonment.
The state wants to provide connectivity to the planned Navi Mumbai airport from south Mumbai through the CST-Panvel corridor by building an 8.5-km loop line via Seawoods. “The project is very much on the agenda of the government,” said Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) managing director Rakesh Saksena.
MRVC officials met the state chief secretary and urban development department bureaucrats to discuss the status of various proposals for Mumbai. During this meet, they received “positive feedback” on the CST-Panvel project, the officials said.
The MRVC has already submitted a draft of the State Support Agreement, which once signed will clear the way for the invitation of project bids. “The government is keen to sign the State Support Agreement for the CST-Panvel corridor. We do not mind if this gets priority over the Churchgate-Virar elevated route,” a railway board official said.
The CST-Panvel corridor will be executed by the MRVC, which is a joint venture of the Maharashtra government and the Union railway ministry; this means that the state would have a significant say in the project’s planning and execution.
By contrast, the Churchgate-Virar corridor was to be executed by the railway board with the state playing facilitator. The government was to allocate FSI to allow the concessionaire to commercially exploit the space above railway land. It was also required to ensure that the concessionaire gets the right of way in time bound manner by shifting utilities, removing encroachments and managing traffic.
In any event, the Churchgate-Virar project is now on the backburner, with the state seeking a fresh traffic survey for it in view of the fact that the MMRDA has invited bids for Metro-III, whose alignment is similar to the elevated corridor on a significant stretch.
The Harbour line of Central Railway (CR) carries around a million passengers a day. But unlike Western Railway and CR’s Main line, which have four fast and slow corridors, the Harbour line only has slow corridors. There has been a demand for faster and more services
As obstacles to the planned airport at Navi Mumbai fall steadily, there is increasingly a need to connect the area to south Mumbai through a fast corridor
Railway officials expect 30% traffic from the suburban line and 20% road traffic to shift to the corridor once operations begin
Travel time from CST to Panvel will decrease by 30 minutes
According to estimates, nearly 66% returns will come from fares. The peak-hour peak-direction traffic on the corridor will be 21,000 by 2019 and 39,000 by 2031