Western railway elevated corridor
|Western Railway Elevated Corridor|
|System||Mumbai Suburban Railway|
|Daily ridership||1.7 million (2019-20 estimate)|
|Operator(s)||Western Railway (WR)|
|Character||Elevated, underground and at grade|
|Line length||63.27 km (39.31 mi)|
|No. of tracks||2|
|Track gauge||5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm)|
|Operating speed||100 km/h|
The Western Railway Elevated Corridor, also known as the Oval Maidan-Virar elevated corridor, is a proposed rapid transit corridor, running along the same alignment as the Western Line of the Mumbai Suburban Railway, that will link Oval Maidan with Virar.
The technical feasibility report for the project was prepared by Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES) and the French firm Systra. On 23 August 2012, Western Railway (WR) held a planning meeting with potentially interested parties at Churchgate station.  According to Sharat Chandrayan, CPRO of WR, "The road-show was mainly to explain requirements for the project to prospective bidders and to understand their suggestions before bidding takes place". A delay occurred due to differences of opinion between the State Government, the Planning Commission and the railways on issues related to FSI, land acquisition, shifting of underground utilities and commercial use of land.
The project is a joint public-private partnership (PPP) project of the railways, the state government and private organisation on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis.
The project received in-principle approval from Maharashtra government on 9 April 2013. The Maharashtra government sought central funding for the Mumbai Elevated Rail Corridor Project, which is aimed to revolutionise suburban commuting in the city. The railway ministry announced on 17 September 2013, that the deadline for expressing interest had been extended to 29 November from 20 October. "Unless the agreement with the state government is signed it will be difficult for the project to take off", he said.
The state government clarified it would not permit a higher FSI for the project, and lobbied for its own Mumbai Metro project. The state government opposes the elevated rail corridor project, arguing that the proposed Line 3 of the Mumbai Metro Metro project between Colaba and SEEPZ follows the same route. Following the November meeting, WR commissioned RITES to conduct a study on passenger volume projections if the route were shortened. The state government had suggested that the corridor be terminated at Bandra. The study found that terminating the corridor at Bandra would result in 40% reduction in passenger volume, which would make the project financially unviable.
In April 2014, the Railway Board instructed WR to halt all work they had undertaken with regards to the project. Subodh Jain, member (engineering) of the Railway Board, stated, "The Oval Maidan-Virar elevated corridor has gone cold due to lack of interest by the state government." The Ministry of Railways shelved the project stating that until the government shows interest in the project, there was no need to carry out any work. Following a change at the Centre and a new Railway Minister, after the 2014 general elections, there was renewed interest in the project. Chairman of Railway Board Arunendra Kumar and the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra J. Saharia met on 14 June 2014 to discuss the future of the project. On 8 January 2015, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announced that the elevated corridor and the CST-Panvel corridor would be implemented. According to a new proposal, a 6-lane road will be constructed on the same pier as the elevated rail corridors.
It will consist of a 63.27 km two-track elevated corridor running above the existing Western Line, occasionally going underground and at ground level. The elevated sections will be 15 to 20 m above the ground, and higher at Andheri in order to clear the new Mumbai Metro station. The corridor was initially proposed to go underground for 8.04 km from Oval Maidan to Mahalaxmi. Between Mahalaxmi and Borivali, the line will be elevated for 25.22 km and then at grade for 2.20 km. In the final stretch, between Borivali and Virar, 17.50 km would be elevated and 10.31 km would be at grade. Approximately, 42.72 km of the corridor was to be elevated, 8.04 km would be underground and the remaining 12.52 km at grade.
Railway officials announced on 29 September 2012 that a decision had been taken to alter the earlier alignment and go underground for an additional 8.5 km stretch between Bandra and Jogeshwari to avoid having to buy and remove over 100 buildings extant on the planned route. This will increase the project cost by ₹12 billion (US$190 million). According to Mahesh Kumar, general manager of WR, the realignment would save money because he estimates that land acquisition and rehabilitation along the stretch would cost over ₹20 billion (US$320 million). As a result of the changes, 16.6 km of the corridor will now be underground, 10 km will run at grade alongside existing tracks and 36.4 km will be elevated. The underground sections include the 8.04 km stretch between Oval Maidan and Mahalaxmi, and the 8.56 km stretch between Bandra and Jogeshwari that was proposed in the amended plans. The at grade section, roughly lying between north Santacruz and north Vile Parle, is because of restrictions in height placed by the Airports Authority of India. The stretches between Dahisar-Mira Road, Bhayander-Vasai and at Virar will also be at grade. The remaining stretches will be elevated.
Initially, 26 stations were proposed. However, WR may cancel 3 or 4 stations to reduce cost and land acquisition. Stations that are situated close together or estimated to have low passenger traffic may be dropped from the plan. Matunga Road, Mahim and Naigaon stations have been proposed to be cancelled.
The elevated corridor is expected to take 30% of the load off existing lines. Western Railway (WR) intends to fund the project by commercially developing 130,000 square metres of land in 8 locations, of which five plots are Mumbai Central, Bandra, Andheri, Mahalaxmi and Borivali.
The Virar maintenance depot was planned to require 65 hectares of land, but the new one will require 40.8 hectares of land, due to a decision by WR to reduce the proposed number of coaches on a train from the earlier 15 to 8. Oval Maidan station will be integrated with Hutatma Chowk station on the proposed Colaba-Bandra line of the Mumbai Metro.
|21||Mira Road||At Grade|
|24||Vasai Road||At Grade|
The project is estimated to cost ₹200 billion (US$3.2 billion) and will be implemented through a public-private partnership (PPP) mode on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis by a private entity. The Central Government will provide 20% of the project cost as viability gap funding.
The rolling stock proposed will consist of 3,660-mm wide air-conditioned coaches. The corridor will have emergency sidings.
- Services will run daily from 5am - 12am. Trains will be available every 90 seconds and will halt at each station for 30 seconds.
- Trains will be able to transport 90,000 passengers PHPDT (Peak Hour Peak Direction Traffic).
- Trains will have an optimum speed of 100 km/h.
- "Highlights of the Railway Budget 2007-08accessdate=16 January 2012".
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- First step toward the Mumbai-Virar elevated 2-track corridor project
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- [dead link]
- Binoo Nair (6 April 2013). "Your AC train to Virar will have 8 coaches". DNA India. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
- Raghvendra Rao (5 August 2012). "Oval Maidan-Virar elevated rail corridor gets a forward push". The Indian Express. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
- "Elevated rail corridor stations will have shops and offices". Hindustan Times. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
- Manthan K Mehta (7 August 2012). "Elevated rail corridor may run up to Mantralaya or Nariman Point". The Times of India. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
- "Railway 'dumps' metro from Mumbai corridor plan". Dnaindia.com. 4 August 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2013.