Constructed in 1975 to bypass the crowded and passenger-heavy old Delhi, New Delhi and Hazrat Nizamuddin railway stations, the 35-km ring railway once used to be the lifeline of the capital. Over the past two decades, however, the rail network has been lying in neglect as the geographical make-up of the city changed drastically — leading to a massive drop in the number of passengers.
Now, as part of the measures to decongest the capital and reduce air pollution, officials from the Centre and state government are trying to revive the line.
Stating that the railway system, comprising 21 stations, can provide some relief to the problem, a senior official said, “The Ministry of Railways intends to revive the infrastructure of the ring railway system in partnership with the state government.”
Officials said the Ministry and the state government will commission a study on the ring railway corridor and its immediate influence areas. It will also assess passenger traffic, the ring network’s role in the mass transit system of Delhi and the number of commuters it can attract.
Officials added that government agencies will also ascertain the scope of work that has to be done to revive the system.
“The Ring Railway is part of Delhi’s suburban system. We need to start making use of existing resources. Before we revive the system, we need to see the extent to which it can contribute to the well-being of the city,” a senior official said.
During last year’s railway budget, Union Minister Suresh Prabhu had announced the revival of the network.
Sources said officials will also study the existing masterplan and land use plan of the route, along with proposed and upcoming transport infrastructure and system plans. They will also look at similar models of transit systems across the world.
Officials will also collect information on the existing freight and passenger traffic on ring railways, in terms of frequency, capacity, coaches and utilisation.
“Passenger trains run daily — which include four express trains and five suburban passenger trains that carry around 3,000 to 4,000 passengers a day. This is just 30 per cent of its total capacity. The travel time varies between 40 to 60 minutes during morning peak hours and 90 to 120 minutes in the evening. Looking at data from the last financial year, we found that the suburban rail network carried 3,342 passengers a day. Based on this information, we have decided to revive the ring rail network,” a source in the ministry said.