Mumbai took a huge step towards improved commuter connectivity on Monday when the first monorail rake for the metropolis was launched and tested in Rawang, Malaysia, where the 15 four-car rakes are being built. The sleek, blue-and-white rake will be shipped to Mumbai in early July and is expected to begin carrying commuters between Chembur and Wadala in December. After that, Scomi, which has its plant north of Kuala Lumpur, has promised to ship 14 more rakes at the rate of one a month to Mumbai.
The Chembur-Wadala monorail would be extended to Jacob Circle (Saat Rasta) in May 2011 and is expected to ease the rush on other mass-transit systems in the city. By 2016, the entire line is expected to carry 1.25 lakh commuters a day and by 2031 it could carry 3 lakh passengers a day. The monorail will use 18 stations and improve connectivity between the eastern suburbs and central Mumbai. The MMRDA plans to develop Wadala, which will have the main monorail depot, along the lines of the Bandra Kurla Complex.
Mumbai’s first monorail rake was inaugurated by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad. Speaking on the occasion, Gaikwad thanked the Scomi group for delivering the rakes on time, but pulled up the Larsen & Toubro (L&T) group for delays. Gaikwad said the standards for the curved beams, being made by L&T as part of the civil works for the project, are yet to be fully met. He said the monorail project has about 40% curved beams. State urban development secretary T C Benjamin said L&T has been told about the need for perfection.
MMRDA officials said the civil works comprised mainly straight beams and curved beams. While there was no problem with the straight ones, the MMRDA’s consultants want 100% perfection in the curved beams for smooth and hassle-free movement of the rakes. Gaikwad confirmed that Phase-1 would start by December and Phase-2 by May 2011. “Even a day’s delay can mean a fine of Rs 50 lakh to the contractor,’’ he warned.
The MMRDA had earlier planned to deviate from its path at Jacob Circle due to terrorist Ajmal Kasab being imprisoned at Arthur Road jail. But Gaikwad said the MMRDA met the police chief and there was no problem with the route.
The Chembur-Jacob circle route will have 15 rakes, each having a carrying capacity of nearly 600 people.
Scomi group president (engineering) Syahrunizam Samsudin said, “After the successful exhibition run of the first monorail car in Mumbai on January 26, 2010, we have been steadily working towards meeting the deadline set by MMRDA. We plan to complete and dispatch one train a month starting from July from our manufacturing facility. We will ensure that by 2011 all 15 trains are ready in Mumbai.’’
Gaikwad said that plans for monorail connectivity between Thane-Bhiwandi and Kalyan are almost finalised. “Since the Chembur-Saat Rasta monorail was the first of its kind, the MMRDA decided to fund the Rs 2,460-crore project, but the Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan line will be on a Public Private Partnership basis,’’ he said.
The MMRDA also plans to construct a monorail between Lokhandwala Complex and SEEPZ. The MMRDA is also planning a monorail between Diva junction and Nevle via Nilje. This would help the area around Kalyan develop into a business hub. In the next few years, the MMRDA is planning a 180-km network connecting Mumbai and its satellite areas.
Since many cities in India—like Pune, Bangalore and Hydearbad—want monorails, Scomi has asked the state for help in setting up a plant. Benjamin said the government would examine the proposal.
15 rakes, each with 4 cars
Each rake to carry upto 568 passengers
Speed 31 kmph (max 80 kmph)
Trains to run from 5 am to midnight
Frequency 4 to 6 minutes initially
Chembur-Wadala 8.26 km
Wadala-Jacob Circle 11.28 km
Smart cards, for single and multiple journeys
The monorail requires a 1-metre-wide space, approximately the space of a footpath. It rests on a 6.5-metre-tall pillar, so it doesn’t disturb traffic below
Compared to other mass-transit systems, it produces less noise and is eco-friendly. Hence, it is acceptable in dense residential locales
It is eventually expected to save 200 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the air daily
Monorails are used in Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and China
Urban development secretary T C Benjamin has asked for cushions to be removed from the Mumbai trains
Phase 1 | Chembur-Wadala Opening Date : Dec 2010
Phase 2 | Wadala-Jacob Circle Opening Date : May 2011
THE 18 STOPS:
Chembur Railway Station