A new suburban corridor on the Central Railway (CR) was inaugurated Sunday, linking Nerul and Belapur in Navi Mumbai with Kharpokar in Ulwe, a rapidly developing node in the satellite city.
The 12 km Nerul-Seawoods Darave-Belapur-Kharkopar corridor in Navi Mumbai was commissioned by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal along with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
This is the first phase of the 27km Nerul-Belapur-Uran corridor on the Harbour route of the CR that extends suburban trains to adjoining Raigad district.
Regular services on the corridor will start from Monday and link Ulwe node in Navi Mumbai with Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and Panvel on the Harbour route besides Thane on the Trans-Harbour corridor.
The Ulwe node is located opposite the upcoming Navi Mumbai International Airport.
This is the first suburban corridor in the Mumbai metropolitan region in 13 years and comes after the Trans- Harbour Line, connecting Thane with Navi Mumbai, was thrown open in 2005.
Speaking after commissioning of the corridor at the Kharpokar railway station, Fadnavis said in the modern era transportation and mobility play key role in human settlement.
“In earlier days of civilisation, people would settle near rivers where they could easily get water. But now people start habitation at places which are equipped with means of transportation and mobility,” he said.
Fadnavis said large-scale investments are being made in Mumbai’s suburban railway network to enhance connectivity and improve passenger amenities.
“We are also investing Rs 1 lakh crore in various metro projects that will also be integrated with suburban networks,” the chief minister said.
The Seawoods-Belapur-Uran line was conceived in late 1990s to augment the Harbour rail network.
The commissioning of the new rail corridor was to take place in December 2017, but it got delayed by nearly a year.
The CR will operate 40 services daily from Monday, of which 20 will run between Kharkopar and Nerul and the rest between Belapur and Kharkopar stations.
The 27km-long project is coming up at a cost of Rs 1,782 crore. The second phase, on which work is currently going on, will stretch from Kharkopar to Uran, a coastal town in Raigad district.
“Once fully functional, the entire corridor will benefit the Navi Mumbai Airport, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trusts container port at Nhava Sheva and fishing communities in the region and also connect Panvel, Pen, Roha and CSMT,” said an official of state-run town planning agency CIDCO.
The project cost is being shared by the Railways and CIDCO in the ratio of 33:67 per cent.