INDIA: A further programme of enhancements to increase capacity on the Mumbai suburban network was formally approved by the national government’s Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on March 7, and is expected to be completed in five years.

Mumbai’s 385 route-km suburban network currently carries around 8 million passengers/day on 3 000 trains. Phase IIIA of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project has been drawn up Mumbai Rail Vikas Corp in co-operation with the Central and Western railways to alleviate the worst overcrowding and provide for further growth over the next 20 years. The Rs336·9bn cost is to be jointly funded by Indian Railways and the Maharashtra state government, which approved the plans in December.

The package includes additional tracks to help segregate suburban and long-distance trains, including 26 km of fifth and six tracks on the Western Railway main line from Borivali to Virar and 46 km of quadrupling elsewhere. Central Railway’s Harbour Line branch will be extended from Goregaon to Borivali while the power supply network will be enhanced.

CBTC is to be installed on 162 route-km of both networks to improve safety and operational efficiency, as well as supporting more frequent services, for which a further 191 air-conditioned EMUs with power doors are to be procured. Stations are to be remodelled with more capacity and additional entrances and exits to improve passenger flows.

Looking to the longer term, MRVC has started an environmental impact assessment for the construction of 55 km of elevated tracks on the Harbour Line between Chhattrapati Shivaji Terminus and Panvel which it believes would be needed to improve east-west connectivity between the historic city centre and the expanding suburbs of Navi Mumbai.