Updated: December 10, 2020 9:03:20 pm
Following a proposal from the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML), Pune Metro is examining if the proposed extension of the Swargate-Katraj stretch can be replaced with a low-cost Metro Neo corridor. The idea was discussed at the Pune Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (PUMTA) meeting held on Wednesday, after which Pune Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao, who heads the body, directed Pune Metro to conduct a feasibility study for the proposal.
Metro Neo is a low-cost urban rail transit system which uses new-generation electric coaches powered by an overhead traction. The coaches, with an average length of 25 metres, run on rubber tyres and are lighter than conventional Metro trains, with a 10-tonne axle load instead of the normal 17 tonne. The coaches have a capacity to carry 240-250 passengers.
Earlier, Pune Metro had planned to extend its corridor from PCMC headquarters to Swargate till Katraj. In March this year, the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) Standing Committee had approved the plan. The 5.4-km extension of the underground Metro was expected to cost Rs 4,283 crore and was to be completed by 2028.
According to officials who attended the PUMTA meeting, PMPML CMD Rajendra Jagtap proposed that the Metro Neo project could be implemented using the existing Swargate-Katraj BRT dedicated corridor, and the stretch could be run by PMPML or Pune Metro.
“The Metro Neo project could be implemented by creating an elevator via-duct or at the surface level, by using the grade at seven intersections in the 5.4-km stretch. As it’s much cheaper than the underground Metro option, it can be a win-win situation for everyone – Pune Metro, PMPML and Pune city,” Jagtap told The Indian Express.
Sources in Pune Metro said that the divisional commissioner has asked them to evaluate the proposal by looking at the ground situation in the stretch. The cost of Metro Neo infrastructure is lower, said a Pune Metro official. While Metro requires an investment of Rs 225-250 crore, Metro Neo will cost about Rs 80-100 crore for the same length.
“We will conduct a study and send it to higher officials to decide on the feasibility of the project. Following this, a final call on Metro Neo can be taken by the PMC and state authorities,” said the official. The Metro Neo infrastructure can be constructed in such a manner than in the future, the same infrastructure can be used for conventional Metro services, he added.
“We will look at the traffic at present and planned traffic projects in the years to come, and based on our estimates, we can decide to build a structure which can be used for Metro Neo coaches now and in the future, as per the need of the city, railings can be fixed to operate conventional Metro coaches,” said the official.
In Maharashtra, Nashik is working on getting a Metro Neo service for the city. The detailed project report, already approved by the Maharashtra government in August 2019, will cover a 33-km stretch with 30 stations. Maha-Metro is also working on a Metro Neo proposal for Pimpri-Chinchwad’s High Capacity Mass Transit Route, encircling the industrial town.
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