Cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru will be equipped with elevated corridors, alongside existing rail tracks, under an ambitious project by the Indian Railways.
With the objective of having safer journeys and eliminating network congestion, the national transporter is considering a mega scale overhaul in partnership with state and central administrations.
According to Times of India, a budget of ₹25,000 crore has been estimated for an elevated corridor in Mumbai, which the state-run railway authorities intend to accomplish by next 3-5 years.
With the exception of single-line Metro and a short monorail system of the maximum city, the entire Mumbai suburban rail network will fall under the project.
“For Mumbai, DFCC (Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation) has already given a preliminary report, now we will put formal teams in place. For Bengaluru, I have told the railways which they are already looking into,” railway minister Piyush Goyal told TOI.
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While adding that a study has been also commissioned for the national capital, the minister also explained that the elevated tracks would be equipped with elevators and escalators, which will make suburban rail travel safe as the provision will rule out trespassing.
The new system also intends to incorporate shopping malls and commercial spaces within the platform complexes and will have provisions catering differently-abled passengers.
Reportedly, the minister is in talks with Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis about elevating the floor space index that will facilitate vertical development over existing stations.
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As of Delhi, various plans are being chalked out to revamp the neglected 35-km ring railway in the city, which would include not just constructing elevated tracks but modernising the stations as well. It is believed that RITES (Rail India Technical and Economic Service) Limited is most likely to conduct the feasibility study.
Constructed in 1975 to bypass the crowded Old Delhi, New Delhi and Hazrat Nizamuddin stations, the ring railway connects 21 stations and is one of the most congested networks in the city. “The ring railway will not just help decongest the national capital but also reduce air pollution once it is connected with Delhi Metro corridors,” said a railway official.
If the project gets the nod, the regular long distance trains would be able to stick to their time schedules, as existing tracks will be freed for them.