You’ll be able to hop into an air-conditioned train and enjoy the Mumbai skyline as if you travel on the western line by year 2019.
The state government gave the ambitious Western Railway (WR) project an in-principle nod last week.
The new 60-km rail line will have stations at all three levels: Underground, ground and elevated. While a large part of the stretch from Virar to Mahalaxmi or Grant Road will be elevated, from thereon it will go underground. Currently, the WR is considering two options for the underground stretch: either Grant Road to Oval Maidan, or Mahalaxmi to Churchgate.
“The state government has given an in-principle approval to the project. The approval from the planning commission is awaited,” said Sharat Chandrayan, chief public relations officer, WR.
The estimated cost for the ground-level corridor is Rs 10 crore per km. The cost to build the elevated corridor is between Rs 50 crore and Rs 100 crore per km depending on the height, which could be 15 to 20 metres. The elevated tracks will have to go above 25 road over bridges, and in these spots the height of the corridor will rise to 20 metres. The underground route will cost the most, at more than Rs 100 crore per km.
A pre-feasibility study has been submitted to the central Railway Board. “Member from the Planning Commission visited the city a few days ago. The Railway Board will be informed of their decision,” said a WR official on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The date for completion of the project is 2019, and the cost of the entire project is approximately Rs 15,000 crore, the WR report states.
“The stakeholders, the locations of the stations and the funding are yet to be decided. But the effort will be to have the new stations close to the existing stations,” the official said.
The WR has, however, not come up with a plan on how to conduct work on this project without disrupting the current services. “It will be difficult to construct the elevated line without affecting the normal train services. Building the supporting pillars will not be a major issue, but progressing ahead without affecting normal services will be a major task,” said Chadrayan.