Hi-speed rail to turn into metro in Meerut, to save Rs 6,300 crore
Decision made after authorities realised that the RRTS network would overlap with a section of the local metro being built by the UP govt.
A high-speed rail corridor from Delhi will double up as a local metro for Meerut, officials of the executing agency have said, explaining a tweak that will help save the government Rs 6,300 crore and improve the efficiency of a network expected to carry hundreds of thousands of passengers every day.
Outside of Delhi and its immediate suburbs of Gurgaon, Faridabad and Noida, Meerut is the next most populated National Capital Region (NCR) town from where 740,000 people are expected to travel everyday once the regional rail transit system (RRTS) is built.
The RRTS is expected to cut travel time from Meerut to Delhi by more than half to roughly 60 minutes, and help ease the heavy road traffic on the 90-km stretch in between.
The National Capital Region Transport Corporation Limited (NCRTC), which is executing the RRTS project, will build six more stations in Meerut and parallel tracks that will accommodate the city’s metro trains, an officer said on the condition of anonymity.
An NCRTC spokesperson confirmed the decision and said it was made after the agency was told that its network would overlap with a part of the local metro network proposed to be built by the Uttar Pradesh government.
That part, corridor 1 of the Meerut metro, was supposed to have 16 stations passing from the same localities through which the RRTS would cut through.
“It has now been decided that in Meerut, we will construct parallel lines and metro trains will be purchased for that. While the RRTS train will not stop at these extra stations, there will be interchange facility at six other stations where the rapid train from Delhi will stop,” the spokesperson said.
The official quoted above reiterated that no compromise on the speed of the hi-speed corridor will be made as the RRTS will stop only at the stations in the initial plan.
RRTS trains can run up to a maximum speed of 180 kmph and average around 100kmph.
According to the new design, the 92.6-km long corridor will technically marry the metro networks of Delhi (at Sarai Kale Khan on the Pink Line) with Meerut’s at Partapur.
The estimated cost of Meerut’s corridor 1 from Partapur to Modipuram, the overlapping stretch, was Rs 8,388 crore. But its integration with the RRTS network, according to the new plan, is expected to cost Rs 2,100 crore.
“This will also lead to better utilisation of resources and there will be no competition for ridership,” the NCRTC officer added.
Pre-construction activities for the Delhi-Meerut high-speed rail are underway and NCRTC officials said the objective is begin construction by July 2018.