Mumbai: In a good news for the Mumbaikars, very soon rail commuters can enjoy the Metro experience on the commute between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai — air-conditioned coaches, automated doors, and high speeds. As a cost-saving measure, the authorities have now decided to use Metro-style rakes on the two lines planned between the sister cities — the CSMT- Panvel fast line elevated corridor and the Mumbai airport- Navi Mumbai airport corridor.
This move to integrate corridors is the first time that the authorities have planned a complete integration of the railways and Metro; in theory, rakes running on the CSMT- Panvel line will also be able to run on connecting Metro lines, reported Mid-Day. For this exercise to implement, the new lines will be laid with standard gauge, instead of broad gauge. This is the first Indian Railways route in the country to have standard gauge. All Metro trains use this kind of gauge for their service.
The CSMT- Panvel elevated corridor was brought out from the wilderness after new Railway Minister Piyush Goyal began discussions on it last week. A senior official said that a feasibility study regarding the operation was conducted in 2012 on broad gauge operations.
This study was conducted afresh with plenty of factors to consider and also taking into account the change in gauge and the integration of the railways and Metro. This line will have 11 stations, almost all of them serving as major interchange points with other modes of transit.
The alignment of the CSMT- Panvel fast line will start at the east of platform 18 at CSMT, and will run along the existing Harbour line. Between CSMT and Mankhurd, the line will be elevated, while it will run at grade between Mankhurd and Vashi. After Vashi, the line will be elevated again till Belapur, at which point it will run at ground level. The existing harbour line will be shifted from platform one and two to a new two- deck station. The CSMT- Panvel line will also connect to the Airport Metro between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai to shorten the journey and will save time.
The new two lines will intersect at Nerul, just before the under- construction Nerul- Uran line railway bridge across Palm Beach Road. This project will be handled by the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation ( MRVC). This line was proposed by the Maharashtra government to connect Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport ( CSIA) to the upcoming Navi Mumbai Airport.
As of now it will begin at Andheri East and will run underground, parallel to the existing Metro 1 line. Further on, this two- track corridor with eight- car trains will run elevated and at grade along the Ghatkopar- Mankhurd route, before connecting to the airport in Panvel. This ambitious and much needed project will be handled by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).