|Owner||Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority|
|Locale||Mumbai, Maharashtra, India|
|Transit type||Straddle-beam monorail|
|Number of lines||1|
|Number of stations||17|
|Daily ridership||125,000 (estimate)|
|Began operation||1 February 2014|
|Number of vehicles||6|
|Train length||4 coaches|
|System length||19.54 km (12.14 mi) (Operational: 8.9 km (5.5 mi))|
|Electrification||750 V DC|
|Average speed||32 km/h (20 mph)|
|Top speed||80 km/h (50 mph)|
The Mumbai Monorail is a monorail system in the city of Mumbai, India, part of a major expansion of public transport in the city. The project was implemented by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), along with a consortium of Mumbai-based conglomerate Larsen & Toubro and the Malaysian infrastructure firm Scomi Engineering. It is the first monorail in India since the Kundala Valley Railway and Patiala State Monorail Trainways were closed in the 1920s, before the independence of India. Construction began in January 2009 and the first operational line, between Wadala and Chembur, was inaugurated on 1 February 2014. Trains run from 7am to 3pm IST in the initial stage. It is expected to operate for 19 hours straight starting from March 2014.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) conceived the idea of an alternate means of transportation, which included the monorail, sometime in 2005 as part of Mumbai's transportation expansion plans, but the decision to introduce monorail as a feeder service to the mass rapid transit system (MRTS) was taken on 28 September 2008. An elevated monorail system was proposed as its narrow guide beams are suitable for congested cities like Mumbai where land is scarce. Monorails are eco-friendly, can handle sharp curves much better than normal trains and metros, as well as climb up and down easily. Monorails also do not obstruct light since they are much narrower than normal rail tracks. The straddle-type monorail design (named so because the train straddles a steel or reinforced concrete beam) was adopted in Mumbai. According to the MMRDA, the bus service operating in the city plied crowded and narrow areas at very slow speeds, thus offering no benefits to the commuters and adding to the traffic congestion. The agency believed that an elevated monorail, that can take sharp turns, climb up and down easily, and run at an average speed of 30 km/hr and maximum speed of 80 km/hr would address these issues. The MMRDA also stated that the monorail would connect many parts of the city which were not connected by suburban rail system or the proposed metro rail system. The agency also stated that the monorail would be an efficient feeder transit to the metro and suburban rail systems offering efficient, safe, air-conditioned, comfortable and affordable public transport to commuters.
Then Chief Minister of Maharashtra Vilasrao Deshmukh cleared the notification for the construction of the first monorail line in Mumbai on 18 August 2008. The line would connect Jacob Circle, Wadala and Mahul via Chembur, providing a feeder service to the existing Mumbai Suburban Railway. The notification formally appointed the MMRDA as the system administrator for the monorail project. It would be responsible for land acquisition along the route, and the construction, allied structures, signalling and safety of the monorail system. On 11 November 2008, Larsen and Toubro, along with Malaysian partner Scomi, were awarded a 24.6 billion (US$390 million) contract to build and operate the monorail until 2029.
The monorail may not be further extended by the MMRDA, as it may prove inadequate for Mumbai's population density. Foreign consultants have suggested a Metro or LRT system over a monorail for many Indian cities, e.g. Bangalore.
Construction of the Mumbai Monorail started in January 2009 along the Chembur – Wadala – Jacob Circle route and was scheduled to be completed in April 2011. Due to delays, the deadline for operation of the first phase of the line, between Chembur and Wadala, was postponed to August 2012, and then 15 September 2013. The second portion, from Jacob Circle to Wadala, had been expected to be ready by December 2013.
A 108-metre (354 ft) test run was successfully conducted on 26 January 2010. The monorail had its first test run on 18 February 2012 from its yard in Wadala to a station at Bhakti Park, a distance of around a kilometre. Scomi, the Malaysian company that supplied the brakes for the project, was in charge of the trial. The MMRDA will decide whether the Singapore-based SMRT or the Hong Kong-based Mass Transit Rail will be given the task of certifying the monorail system. This is because the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) had said it didn't have the capacity to certify the monorail, as it was a different system from the railways. The electrical workings of the monorail will be certified by the Electrical Inspector General.
The MMRDA invited proposals from agencies for securing, maintaining and leasing of bulk commercial advertisement rights to display advertisements on monorail piers and for securing advertisements at all the seven stations on the Chembur-Wadala corridor. The appointed agency will fix, maintain secure advertisements for the station areas and maintain monorail piers by removing all unwanted posters, stickers, drawings, graffiti etc. and also lease advertisement rights of these piers for commercial advertisements.
In a meeting between Larsen & Toubro and MMRDA official, held on 23 August 2013, the MMRDA raised concerns over the lack of trains, inadequate safety measures, technical faults and inexperienced staff working on the project. MMRDA metropolitan commissioner UPS Madan warned that the MMRDA would be forced to impose penalties and initiate legal action against the contractors in case of accidents.
The cost of setting up the monorail service is roughly 850 million (US$14 million) per km (mi). The complete network of about 135 kilometres (84 mi) is recommended for development from 2011 to 2031 in phases at the total cost of 2.0 billion.
The Mumbai Monorail master plan proposed the construction of 8 lines at a cost of 202.96 billion (US$3.2 billion). Further development of the monorail system is on hold, and questions have been raised as to whether the proposed monorail corridors will have sufficient capacity to meet Mumbai's requirements.
|1||Line 1 – Chembur – Wadala – Jacob Circle||19.54||27.16 billion (US$430 million)|
|1||Mulund – Goregaon – Borivali||30||41.7 billion (US$670 million)|
|1||Virar – Chikhaldongri||4.60||6399 million (US$100 million)|
|1||Lokhandwala – SEEPZ – Kanjurmarg||13.14||18265 million (US$290 million)|
|1||Thane – Mira-Bhayandar – Dahisar||24.25||33708 million (US$540 million)|
|2||Kalyan – Ulhasnagar – Dombivli||26.40||36696 million (US$590 million)|
|2||Chembur – Ghatkopar – Kopar Khairane||16.72||36863 million (US$590 million)|
|2||Mahape – Shil Phata – Kalyan||21.10||29329 million (US$470 million)|
In September 2011, the MMRDA said that did not have an immediate plan to start the construction of a second monorail in the region. They clarified that although it did not mean that they are not interested in carrying out the project, it may not follow the currently planned schedule. The MMRDA decided to put on hold all plans for the expansion of the monorail till the first route was commissioned. An MMRDA official stated, "There is no point in going for new routes. As long as the first route is not commissioned and the results are not out, we would not commission any new routes". MMRDA feels the need for a monorail would arise after all the proposed metro rail routes were commissioned with the monorail serving as a feeder service."
The MMRDA shelved the project to construct a monorail corridor from Thane to Kalyan and Bhiwandi in February 2014, citing low ridership estimates and availability of cheaper road transport alternatives. The development authority had planned to construct the corridor to serve as a feeder system to a metro project planned in Thane. U.P.S. Madan, Metropolitan Commissioner at the MMRDA, stated, "Having a monorail to connect to the Wadala-Kasarvadavali Metro was the original plan, but it was not found to be feasible. There was not enough ridership on the corridor and we found that a Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) would be a more effective and cheaper option there." The MMRDA had originally planned to construct the Thane monorail as a standalone project to provide connectivity to Thane railway station, but altered the plan in order to provide hybrid connectivity of the metro and monorail from Teen Haath Naka in Thane to Bhiwandi and another arm to Kalyan. The proposed corridor would have been 23.75 km long, and cost approximately 3,169 crore.
The Mumbai Monorail was officially inaugurated on 1 February 2014 by Prithviraj Chavan, the Chief Minister of Maharshtra. It became the first monorail system in India. The service was made available for public from 2 February. He said after inaugurating the service—
The commercial operations of the partial initial 8.9-km first phase connecting Wadala-Chembur stations on the northeastern fringe of the megalopolis will commence tomorrow with the first train leaving the Wadala station at 7 am.
Chavan also said that it will take one more year to complete the project. The people of Mumbai warmly welcomed the new service in their city. Around 20,000 rode the monorail on its first day of operation, with long queues reported at stations.
According to studies conducted by the Mumbai Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) during the monorail trial run, it was found that the monorail produces between 65 – 85 decibels of noise, significantly lower than the 95 decibel noise level of a BEST Bus.
The monorail will have a top speed of 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph), an average speed of 65 kilometres per hour (40 mph) and the overall speed including dwell time at stations would be around 31 kilometres per hour (19 mph).
Capacity and frequency
The capacity of each four-car consist is 568 commuters under a 'crush load' and 852 passengers for a six-car consist. There are roughly 18 seated and 124 standing passengers per carriage (the end cars have a different capacity due to the driving position). The system has been designed for a 3 minute headway with operation from 05:00 to 24:00. The projected peak-hour traffic is 7,400 passengers per hour per direction with 125,000 passengers per day; this is projected to rise to 8,300 and 300,000 respectively by 2013.
The MMRDA has stated that the monorail will operate in a single shift from between 7 am and 3 pm, for the first two months of operation. The MMRDA claimed that the decision was because it wanted to cautiously roll out the system, as the monorail system was nascent in the country, its staff were new to monorail operations, and uncertainty over passenger traffic. Within two months of operations, the contractor in charge – a consortium of Larsen & Toubro and Malaysia's Scomi Engineering, will operate the monorail from 7 am to 7 pm. Full-fledged operations of 19 hours, from 5am to midnight, are expected to start only by February 2015.
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