In three years, your weekend trip to Matheran, a popular hill station located around 80 km from Mumbai, is expected to become more accessible.
By 2014, holidayers could hop on to a funicular railway from Dodhani village near Panvel and travel to Sunset Point at Matheran and cut travel time from 90 minutes to less than five minutes.
A funicular railway uses tram-like vehicles that travel up and down steep slopes with the carriages being pulled by a strong cable.
Last week, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority had floated tenders for the Rs 83-crore funicular railway, which is expected to cater to around 3.24 lakh visitors.
“The [funicular railway] project will boost tourism and improve connectivity to Matheran,” said joint metropolitan commissioner Ashwini Bhide.
The funicular railway project had been on the drawing board for the last five years. While bids will have to be submitted by January 21, the tender will be awarded by March. The work on the project is expected to be complete in 42 months.
Presently, around seven lakh tourists visit Mathern every year. With the introduction of the funicular railway, tourist inflow to the popular hill station is expected to increase by 20%.
By using the 1.3-km-long funicular railway, tourists will save 90 minutes of travel time.
As the starting point will be from Dodhani village, 19 km from Panvel, they will not have to travel the 30-minute journey to Neral station, then another 30-minute road travel up to Dasturi Point, and finally a 30-minute walk to reach Matheran.