By Manthan K Mehta www.indiatimes.com
MUMBAI: A pre-feasibility study carried out by the consultants for the Churchgate-Virar elevated rail corridor has proposed the construction of new tracks on the existing network’s eastern side.
Western Railway has relatively free space on this side. It can afford better maneuverability for carrying out complex engineering tasks. It is not feasible to carry out work on the western side because of the presence of residential structures alongside the tracks. Moreover, the distance between the tracks and the BMC area is negligible.
Sharat Chandrayan, chief public relations officer, Western Railway, said, “The consultants are categorical that since a technologically driven method is going to be used for laying of the tracks and launching of pier and girder, shorter and the least number of blocks will be taken. These pier and girders will be pre-cast at the casting yard and launched with mobile cranes.”
A new suburban station on the elevated rail will come up at Bandra Terminus, since most of the outstation trains depart from this WR junction.
Chandrayan said, “There will be a total of 27 stations after the exclusion of stations such as Charni Road and Marine Lines. All these stations will come up above or below the existing stations on the suburban network.”
The tracks adjoining the platforms built at the elevated stations will be covered with roof – similar to CST and Churchgate. The concourse of the station building will be designed to aid smoother inter-modal movement of commuters from elevated stations to the old station area. The stations will have escalator/elevator facility on the lines of metro stations in New Delhi.
Chandrayan said, “The project also envisages development of a concourse area outside the station building. Proper redesigning of the concourse area will help in smoother vehicular movement of buses, autorickshaws, taxis and quicker dispersal of commuters.”
The railways will have to draw the plans for concourse development in consultation with local civic bodies or MMRDA, which plans an implementation body for Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
Unlike the Mumbai metro project, which is being built on the public-private partnership model, the railways plan to carry out the construction and implementation of the project on their own. An official said, “Involving private players can create hurdles because of improper coordination with other stake holders such as the civic body or the state government agencies. It also does not make sense considering the union government has decided that even metro projects, excluding Mumbai Metro and Hyderabad Metro, will be implemented by railways.”
Providing more details, he said, the elevated corridor will use 25 kv alternate current traction. The trains will have a regenerative braking system that will help save 30% energy.
The system will have automated fare collection system. The minimum fare has been pegged at Rs 20 per 3 to 4 kms. However, this may vary, depending on inflation.