A feasibility study done by the railways says that the proposed elevated rail corridor between Churchgate and Virar might not be possible as planned. The study says that due to space constraints, the entire 60km stretch cannot be elevated as desired.
The plan of an elevated rail corridor, over the existing line between Churchgate and Virar was put forth by former minister Lalu Prasad. Incumbent minister Mamata Banerjee had backed the proposal.
The study says that an alternative is to build a rail track, which will be built on three levels — underground, surface and elevated.
The stretch between Churchgate and Mumbai Central is posing a problem. “There is neither any scope to erect pillars for elevated corridor nor can the lines be expanded. Also we will need a detailed plan before going underground between Mahalaxmi and Churchgate as details of underground utilities like power cables, water lines and sewerage lines, are sketchy,” added the official.
“The stretch between Santacruz and Vile Parle cannot go above the surface as it comes in the funnel of airport where airplanes land and take off,” said a senior Western Railway (WR) official.
The cost of building an elevated rail track is Rs 100 crore per km, while that of an underground line is three times. The height of the elevated corridor will be about 20 m from the rail line at ground level, reaching the highest point at Andheri — 25 m above ground, as it will pass over the upcoming Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar metro rail.
The nine or 12 coach air-conditioned trains on the elevated track will have a capacity for over 75,000 commuters per hour.
The feasibility and financial study of the project is being done by RITES and a complete study of the project is expected to take at least six months. “This was an initial study. The final report is still awaited,” said chief WR PRO, S Gupta.