Ever wonder why railway stations in Mumbai are not commercially developed or have office complexes like the ones in Navi Mumbai? Then you may feel better with the Western Railway’s (WR) plans.
The WR has planned a 63.27km-long Oval Maidan–Virar railway corridor with as many as 26 new railway stations, of which at least 19 are likely to be in Mumbai. Some of these stations will be turned into station-cum-commercial complexes, which would help the private developer recover part of the cost incurred on building the elevated railway corridor. The details, however, are being worked out, say officials.
Sharat Chandrayan, chief public officer, WR, said, “The concessionaire [private developer] has been allowed to commercially develop the station premises. The project is in the primary bidding stage, in which the bidders will be shortlisted. In the next stage the bidding will be finalised, which is likely to be by May 2013.”
For this, the railways will need more floor space index (buildable area) from the state government. “The cost of the corridor will be Rs21,000 crore, most of which is expected to be spent by the private developer who would recover majority of the money through sale/lease of commercial space of new railway stations and ticket sales,” said an official.
However, travel in the air-conditioned train is likely to come at a high price, as the concessionaire will have the freedom of setting the tariff. “The developer will have to take the railway’s approval before charging the tariff, but we will not have any control as such,” said a senior WR official requesting anonymity.
According to the project information memorandum issued by the Indian Railway for the project, five stations on the 8.04km Oval Maidan-Mahalaxmi stretch will be underground. The remaining will be elevated, except Santacruz, Vile Parle, Naigaon and Vasai, which will be at ground level.
Of the remaining 21 stations, 14 will be between Mahalaxmi to Borivli, and seven will come up between Borivli and Virar.
According to railway officials, the new stations will be built adjacent to existing ones with interconnectivity provided between both the stations. The new stations are likely to come up near Churchgate, Charni Road, Mumbai Central, Mahalaxmi, Lower Parel, Elphinstone Road, Dadar, Matunga Road, Mahim Junction, Bandra, Santacruz, Andheri, Jogeshwari, Goregaon, Malad, Kandivli, Borivli, Dahisar, Bhayandar, Naigaon, Vasai Road, Nalasopara, Mira Road and Virar.
The average distance between stations would be 2.25km, but the inter-distance between two stations could vary from 1km to 4.5km depending on the traffic.