The partially opened lines 2A and 7 of the Mumbai Metro Rail only recently cleared testing by the Research Designs and Standards Organisation and will be undergoing signal testing soon. Inaugurated by former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Gudi Padwa in April, these two lines will connect Dahisar to DN Nagar (2A) and Dahisar East to Andheri East (7). As of now, however, a 20-km stretch of the two elevated lines is operational between Aarey and Dhanukarwadi.
But, as per media reports, it will take another four to five months for the work on these two crucial lines to be completed. These two parallel Metro corridors along the Western Express Highway will be interconnected and, once this 35-km stretch is fully functional, commuters will be able to travel between Dahisar and Ghatkopar without exiting the Metro.
According to the Mumbai Metro Rail Development Authority (MMRDA), lines 2 and 7A are expected to be fully open by December 2022 or by early next year. They are drawing a daily ridership of over 25,000 on an average.
The MMRDA said a total of 14 lines spread across 300 km were under construction, with lines 2 and 7A nearing completion. All of these lines will be operational in the next three to four years.
What is the Mumbai Metro Rail?
A rapid transport system of Mumbai and the wider Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), the Mumbai Metro Rail is being built in three phases over a 15-year period. Once built in its entirety, the system will span over 300 km and will have more than 200 stations. Most of it will be elevated, while 24 per cent will be underground. With three operational lines covering over 50 km, the MMRDA has started construction on nine other lines, with three in the tendering stage, and another three in the planning stage.
Line 1 of the Mumbai Metro Rail became operational in June 2014, but it has taken eight years to make at least two more lines even partially operational. Line 1 of the Mumbai Metro is operated by a joint venture of MMRDA and Reliance called Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd (MMOPL) and France’s RATP Dev Transdev Asia.
The foundation stone of the first phase of the Mumbai Metro Rail was laid by then prime minister Manmohan Singh in 2006, while the construction began two years later in 2008. The first trial run was conducted in 2013 and it became operational the year after in 2014. Most metro projects have been plagued by delay in environmental clearances, land acquisition problems and protests.
Who is building the Metro and who operates it?
Maharashtra has appointed MMRDA as the nodal agency for construction, while Maha Mumbai Metro Rail Operation Corporation (MMMOCL) will handle operations and maintenance of all lines except the Line 3, which is the underground Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ corridor. Its construction is also being undertaken by Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL).
Which are the operational lines?
Lines 1 (blue), 2A (yellow) and 7 (red) are the only three operational lines of the Mumbai Metro Rail, covering a total distance of over 40 km. In fact, lines 2A and 7 are only partially operational and are expected to be fully functional in another few months.
The first operational corridor, Line 1 or the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar corridor, is 11.4 km long. The MMRDA, on its website, states that this line said it provided connectivity to the eastern and western suburbs to Western and Central Railway, reducing the journey between Versova and Ghatkopar from 71 minutes to 21 minutes.
Lines 2A and 7, meanwhile, are two parallel elevated corridors running along a 35-km stretch along the Western Express Highway (WEH). Line 2A from Dahisar to D N Nagar is 18.6 km long with 17 stations. It will be interconnected to Lines 1, 2B, 7 and 6 (Swami Samarth Nagar to Vikhroli), as per the MMRDA website. Line 7 from Andheri East to Dahisar East has 13 stations with interconnectivity to WEH as well as Lines 1, 2A and 6.
Both of these lines are being constructed under the second phase of the Mumbai Metro Rail. The MMRDA said close to 80 per cent work under phase II was complete, and 95 per cent civil works were done. “Our target is to complete the remaining work within five months. Once the work is completed, MMRDA will apply for certification and clearance from Research Design and Standards Organization and Metro Railway Safety Commissioner. It will take around two months to get the clearances, following which, operations can be started on the stretch,” a senior MMRDA official was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
Which lines are immediately on the horizon?
Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ underground corridor or Line 3: The only underground Metro corridor, Line 3 or the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ corridor, is expected to be ready for the first phase of its commercial operation between Bandra Kurla Complex and SEEPZ by December 2023, as per a report published in The Indian Express. Known as the aqua line, the trial run on a 3-km stretch of the corridor between Marol and Aarey began in August 2022. It is being constructed and will be operated by MMRCL. Once fully operational, it will service close to 17 lakh people on a stretch of 33.5 km with 27 stations.
Line 2B: This line, too, is expected to be completed by December 2023, as per media reports. The yellow line, which is a part of 2A, will connect DN Nagar in Andheri West to Mandale in the eastern suburbs over 23.6 km on an elevated corridor with 20 stations. According to the MMRDA, this line will provide interconnectivity between WEH, Eastern Express Highway (EEH), Western Railway, Central Railway, monorail in Chembur, as well as lines 1, 2A, 4 (Wadala to Kasarvadavali) and intersect the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ corridor at BKC. The construction for this line began in April 2018 with many changes in contractors appointed for the work.
Line 6: The pink line, which is expected to be completed by 2024, will connect Swami Samarth Nagar to Vikhroli (EEH). It is a line stretching across 15.3 km, passing through Jogeshwari, WEH and Powai. It will be fully elevated, connecting the WEH and EEH with interchange facilities on lines 2A, 7, 3 and 4 at different locations. It will have 13 stations aligned with the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli link road. This line will benefit commuters by saving up on travel time between Andheri and EEH by 30 to 45 minutes, as per the MMRDA.
Line 9: This line is an extension of line 7 (red) from Andheri to Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) and Dahisar to Mira Bhayander. It is 13.6 km long with 2 km of the corridor underground and 10 stations. The line will provide interconnectivity with the WEH, Western Railway, as well as lines 2A and 7. This line is also expected to be finished by December 2024. It is an extension of the red Line 7, stretching northward from Dahisar to outside the bounds of Mumbai in Mira Bhayandar. When the entire red line is fully operational, it will connect the Thane to CSIA.
Line 5: Another line, which will partially be underground, the orange line will run from Thane to Bhiwandi to Kalyan across 24.9 km with 15 stations. It will provide interconnectivity with lines 4 and the proposed 12 (Kalyan to Taloja), as well as Central Railway. This line is expected to open in 2025. There was no plan to have any part of the line underground initially, but it was later decided to move 3 km of the stretch under so as to save some structures.
According to the IE report, a general consultant has been appointed for lines 10 (Gaimukh-Shivaji Chowk) and 12 (Kalyan-Taloja). The MMRDA, meanwhile, has issued a tender for lines 4 and 4A. Looking ahead, lines 8, 13 and 14 have also been proposed and are in the planning stage.
Read all the Latest India News here