Underground train between Mumbai’s CSMT and Thane?
If all goes as per the Railway ministry’s plan, you may soon be able to travel from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) to Thane on an underground railway corridor below Central Railway’s (CR) the existing lines. The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) on Tuesday proposed to the state a 33.8 km-underground railway corridor for commuters to reach from CSMT in south Mumbai to Thane city in 21 minutes. The project will be part of phase 4 of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP), which is implemented jointly by the Railways and state government to improve public transport in Mumbai and surrounding areas.
The corridor will be designed to operate Metro-like nine-coach trains. The estimated cost of the project is ₹15,506 crore, which may go up to ₹17,962 crore owing to various factors such as land acquisition. A feasibility study of the corridor was conducted by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited (DMRC) in 2018 and was submitted to the MRVC earlier this month.
MUTP-4 includes two other railway projects – the elevated corridor between CSMT and Panvel, and the third and fourth railway lines between Panvel and Vasai. The approximate cost of all projects under MUTP-4 is ₹34,926 crore. The clearance for MUTP-4 is expected before the state elections in October. Once the state approves the project, it will be sent to the Railway ministry, which will send it to the Centre’s planning body Niti Ayog. It will then have to be cleared by the Union Cabinet, which will pave the way for its implementation and funding.
“The concept was discussed during meetings held by then Railway minister Suresh Prabhu. He had directed the MRVC to ask DMRC to conduct a feasibility study,” said a senior official. The DMRC’s has suggested six stations on the CSMT-Thane corridor – CSMT, Dadar, Kurla, Ghatkopar, Bhandup and Thane. A depot-cum-workshop has been planned near Bhandup. The depot will be used for overhauling of trains, maintenance, repairs and replacement of heavy equipment. The DMRC report stated that land required for construction of an underground station at Ghatkopar is not available and hence it can have a stack platform design there. A stack platform design enables two platforms to run one over other.
Currently, travel on the CSMT-Thane stretch takes approximately 35 minutes. The nine-coach Metro-like train can carry 2,700 passengers will be operational between 5am and midnight. The operational speed of the train on the entire corridor will be 90 kmph and the halt time at railway station will be for 30 seconds.
The DMRC has stated that as the corridor will be underground, it does not require any land acquisition. But land will be required for entry- exit points, depots, traffic integration facilities, sub-stations, construction depots, staff quarters and other office complex. The total land permanently required for the implementation of the project will be 24.934 hectares, of which 24.882 hectares belong to government and 0.061 hectares is private. Around 16.9 hectares will be temporarily required for the construction. The entire land belongs to the government.
The Union Cabinet in March gave nod for the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) 3 A that would cost ₹33,690 crore.
Transport experts said authorities need to check if the project will clash with Metro. “Faster commute is the need of the hour, but the Railways should study the economics. We need to examine if there is a need for an underground corridor,” said transport expert AV Shenoy. “The Metro project between Wadala and Thane is planned to be extended to CSMT. The underground corridor is better than an elevated one,” said transport expert Ashok Datar.