The Mumbai Metropolitan Region may get some brand new suburban railway routes after the state government recently asked the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) to study eight new corridors spanning 223 km.
These proposed routes will connect Thane, Navi Mumbai and Alibaug in Raigad district with the Mumbai. The proposed rail corridors are Thane-Bhiwandi, Diva-Vasai Road, Panvel-Uran, Diva-Panvel, Kharkopar-Jite, Panvel-Karjat, Panvel-Jite-Thal and Thal-Alibaug.
Of the eight corridors, outstation and goods trains currently use two stretches of the Diva-Vasai Road (40.1 km) and Diva-Panvel (26.7 km) Road.
The rest of the routes will be brand new for Mumbai and its metropolitan region.
The longest of these proposed routes is the Panvel-Jite-Thal stretch, which will run along at least 60-odd kilometres, equivalent in length to the Churchgate-Virar route.
The shortest route is the Thal-Alibaug line that spans just 5.4 km.
“We will be carrying out a detailed feasibility study of each of these suburban corridors. These routes are part of a comprehensive transport study projected for 2021,” a senior railway official said on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The MRVC has already proposed to include a 27.6-km line from Panvel to Karjat and a 26.9-km line from Panvel to Uran under the third phase of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) beginning post-2016. But, these haven’t been approved yet.
These routes will boost development due to better connectivity, apart from enhancing mass transport in the Panvel-Uran-Karjat triangle, with the new airport near Panvel complimenting it.
The distance from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and Karjat is 100 km, while the CST-Panvel stretch is 42 km. If the Panvel-Karjat line is laid, commuters will be able to cut 30 km from their journey.
The MRVC has also asked the Central Railway officials to give their suggestions and views on the proposed corridors before formulating these projects.
The managing director of MRVC, Dr PC Sehgal said, “These projects are in the nascent stage and needs to be studied.”