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Commuter rail may just be round the corner

Last Updated : 06 July 2011, 19:14 IST
Last Updated : 06 July 2011, 19:14 IST

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  At a meeting with Infrastructure Development Department and the Directorate of Urban Land Transport on Wednesday, the South Western Railways sought two 16-coach rakes to begin services as soon as possible. The Railways has promised to work out a schedule of the routes and the services that can be run initially by July 19.

Sources in the government said that the rakes were likely to be sourced either from BEML or other rail coach factories. It has also emerged that the Railways wants to ensure that none of the routes clash with the Metro alignment or any other mass transportation route the State might introduce.

Speeding up

Sources said the government and Railways might go ahead with the preparation of a Detailed Project Report (DPR) and the setting up of Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) simultaneously to speed up the process.

At a meeting last month, the Railways had agreed to consider running commuter rail services on six routes and also utilise the services of RITES (Rail India Technical and Economic Services) Ltd to conduct a study to quantify the requirements for the services.  
One aspect of the study was to look into the existing infrastructure and suggest suitable modifications to immediately start some services, while the other was to give a long-term plan to  run commuter rail services, including integration with current railway and bus system.

A longer time

However, RITES officials feel that the study would take a longer time and it might not be ready in the three weeks time given to complete the report. The question of fare is also troubling the Railways, which feels that the fare set by the State might not be viable.
“In a commercial model, if we go by existing Railway fares, then travel by commuter rail will end up being Rs 10 approximately, while travel by bus for the same distance might cost Rs 60. This will not be very viable for us. The government has to think carefully about how they will frame the fare structure,” a Railways official said.

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Published 06 July 2011, 19:14 IST

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