The railway ministry has revived its eight-year-old plan to integrate Churchgate, CST and the upcoming Metro station at Azad Maidan through an underground corridor to provide better connectivity to commuters from various parts of the city and suburbs. The railways also plan to start dynamic trials for air-conditioned local trains on the harbour line by May 15.
The decisions were taken at a meeting between railway minister Suresh Prabhu and CM Devendra Fadnavis at Mantralaya on Thursday. Two elevated rail corridors, CST-Panvel and Churchgate-Bandra-Virar links have also got the approval and are expected to take off after being delayed for years. The plan to modernise the CST façade, too, was approved during the meeting. Prabhu said a communication-based train control (CBTC) signalling system will be adopted on the Harbour line, so trains can be run every two minutes.
Reiterating the plan to modernise 33 railway stations, including four from Mumbai, Prabhu said the vertical development of stations would help them provide various facilities — from malls to lodging areas. The modernisation will be facilitated through private participation by seeking an additional FSI of upto 4 from the state government. Dadar, Thane, Borivli are among the stations shortlisted for the plan. The railways also plan to build modern toilets through CSR support on suburban stations and offer other facilities, including Wi-Fi, escalators at 15 more suburban stations in the next few months.
“We are planning a WR corridor between Bandra and Virar. In the second phase, it will be extended till Churchgate. The realignment will cut cost significantly. Although commercial exploitation of the additional FSI to implement it on a PPP model seems difficult,” the official said.
The state is also keen to start single ticketing for all modes of public transport. CM Fadnavis said the integrated ticketing platform, which could be used through mobile phones, too, will soon be launched. The system will enable the passengers to travel on various modes, including metro, mono, suburban trains, BEST buses and share taxi or autos. Fadnavis said the CBTC signalling system will help improve the frequency of trains. “We will share 50% of the total cost of Rs4,000 crore for the system under MUTP-3,” he said.