Mumbai’s rail development agency expects to complete work between Virar and Dahanu Road by December – a crucial connection that could fuel growth in a string of townships dotting the city’s northern suburbs.
Once the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) is done with this stretch, the Western Railway (WR) can start direct suburban local train services up to Dahanu Road, which will help develop its surrounding areas in Thane district.
It would also mean more real estate options for those planning to buy a house in the suburbs as vast tracts of land are still vacant between Virar and Dahanu.
As of now, an average of nearly 77000 commuters travel the 63.8 km from Dahanu Road to Mumbai every day in shuttle services via Virar.
Once work on this stretch finishes, the number of people commuting on this route is expected to rise by 6 per cent, following the strengthening of the real estate markets there.
“Once this stretch is completed, people now living in Vasai can migrate to places beyond Virar, both to work and to live in cheaper, better houses. This will also reduce congestion in existing areas,” said Prakash Rao, chief PRO, MRVC.
A low-cost housing project is underway at Boisar, a steel industry hub. Kelwe has huge tracts of farmland and beach that employs hundreds in the local fishing industry.
Dahanu houses power and ancillary plants, while Palghar has small-scale industries.
Work on this stretch has stopped due to the monsoon, but is expected to resume from September-end.
“We are awaiting permission from WR to allow us to restart work on this stretch. Work is expected to be complete by December if everything goes as planned,” said as senior MRVC official on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
“Work was stopped due to rain but we are ready to cooperate in every way to get things back on schedule,” said S Gupta, chief PRO, WR. The MRVC’s earlier deadline for the roughly Rs 40-crore project was June, but that has come and gone.
As of now, Electric Multiple Units or local trains, run till Virar, beyond which Diesel Multiple Units or shuttle trains ply.
The width between tracks for local trains is about 12 ft while that beyond Virar is 10 ft. This gap has to be widened apart from constructing new platforms, roofs and other infrastructure. Local trains are faster than diesel-run shuttle services.