Soon, you will be able to take a suburban local train beyond Panvel in Navi Mumbai to Karjat and Uran in the neighbouring Raigad district.
The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) has 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).
This will boost real estate and industrial development in the Panvel-Uran-Karjat triangle. With the state government planning a new airport near Panvel, the extension of suburban trains will provide the area with a much-needed mass transport system.
The Panvel-Uran and Panvel-Karjat routes have a single line mainly being used by goods trains. The Pune-Manmad Express is the only train that runs on the Panvel-Karjat stretch built in 2005. Suburban trains on the Harbour line carry five lakh commuters to Panvel every day. Those wanting to travel to Uran or Karjat from here have to rely on state transport buses.
“We are looking at exploring these routes, which are part of the Comprehensive Transport Study under MUTP III for suburban trains. The third phase will have additional lines for suburban trains along with other infrastructure,” said PC Sehgal, managing director, MRVC. The distance from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and Karjat is 100km, while the CST-Panvel stretch is 42-km long. If the Panvel-Karjat line is laid, commuters will be able to cut 30km out of the journey.
The project will mean a turnaround for Panvel and nearby areas, where real estate prices start at Rs 2,500 a square foot. “These two routes will surely open up the real estate market in Navi Mumbai and further north. Big developers are already planning housing projects in Boisar and Dahanu although the Virar-Dahanu stretch hasn’t opened for local trains yet,” said a senior MRVC official on condition of anonymity.
The MRVC will have to first convert the Harbour line from 1,500-volt Direct Current to 25,000-volt Alternating Current for it to extend it between Panvel and Karjat. This will happen when the Central Railway gets the new violet-and-white trains.
The MRVC has also planned a line connecting Virar-Vasai to Diva-Panvel thus linking the farthest ends of Western and Harbour line stations. The Konkan Railway also plans to electrify its entire 760-km route in the next two years. This means the only stretch remaining to be linked will be between Roha and Uran, through the industrial belt of Pen. “We hope to complete electrification work till Roha in the next two years,” said BP Tayal, managing director, Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd.