Maharashtra, Indian Railways to collaborate for rail projects

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Mumbai, April 21 (IANS) The Indian Railways and Maharashtra government will form a special purpose vehicle to take up nine major railway projects in the state worth around Rs.23,000 crores, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announced here on Thursday.

The SPV – Maharashtra Railway Infrastructure Development Corporation (MRIDC) – will implement railways projects across the state, besides the Mumbai suburban section, Prabhu said at a joint media briefing along with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

The projects are: Ahmednagar-Beed-Parli Vaijnath railway line, Wardha-Nanded (via Yavatmal-Pusad), Wadsa-Gadchiroli, gauge conversion of Nagpur-Naghbir line, new lines linking Pune-Nashik, Manmad-Dhule-Indore, Gadchandur-Adilabad, Kolhapur-Vaibhavwadi and Baramati-Lonand, Fadnavis said.

In Mumbai, the projects included are a muti-nodal elevated train-cum road corridor on Central Railway’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)-Panvel sector and Western Railway’s Churchgate-Virar sector, for which work will commence by August 15.

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Prabhu announced a trial operation of Spain’s Talgo high speed trains between Mumbai-New Delhi which will slash the travel time between the two metros by one-third or nearly six hours.

Officials said that the light-weight Talgo trains run at speeds of between 160-200 kmph and can connect Mumbai-New Delhi within 12 hours.

The minister said the first suburban airconditioned local trains will be introduced on the Harbour Line from May 15, while 5 suburban railways stations shall be equipped with escalators, free wi-fi facility and toilets through CSR route in phases in the next four months and CST-Churchgate termini will be connected through an underground subway along with the metro-rail for the benefit of commuters.

A mobile-based Integrated Ticket System will be implemented covering suburban railways, metro-rail, mono-rail, BEST buses and share-taxis for which a special app would be developed.

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The precincts of the world heritage CST will be redeveloped and beautified alongside the P. D’Mello Road with a state-of-the-art monument comprising a grand statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji, a replica of his seven forts and other highlights.

The government plans to develop a new rail corridor between Virar-Panvel-Alibaug on the mainland and increasing Harbour Line frequency from existing three-and-half minutes to about two minutes.

Earlier, during his two-day Mumbai trip, Prabhu travelled in a Kalyan-CST suburban train between Currey Road to CST and interacted with the commuters during the evening peak hour.

The thrilled commuters discussed their problems and issues with the VVIP guest and an excited woman even presented her wedding invite card to Prabhu who promptly asked his aide to make a diary noting.

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