New transport options for City of Oranges and Covai

Coimbatore Broad Gauge Metro Railway Cum Coimbatore Suburban Railway or Kovai Metro Cum Suburban Railway is a Broad Gauge Metro Cum Suburban railway planned for Coimbatore city.



Nagpur is the third largest city and the winter capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the 14th largest city in India by population; according to an Oxford Economics report, Nagpur is projected to be the fifth fastest growing city in the world from 2019 to 2035, with an average growth of 8.41%. It has been proposed as one of the Smart Cities in Maharashtra and is one of the top ten cities in India in Smart City Project execution.

In the latest rankings of 100 developing smart cities given by the Union Ministry of Urban Development, Nagpur stood first in Maharashtra and second in India. Known as the ‘Orange City’, Nagpur has officially become the greenest, safest and most technologically developed city in Maharashtra.

Nagpur is the seat of the annual winter session of the Maharashtra state assembly. It is a major commercial and political centre of the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra.

In addition, the city derives unique importance from being an important location for the Dalit Buddhist movement and the headquarters for the Hindu organization RSS. Nagpur is also known for the Deekshabhoomi, graded as an A-class tourism and pilgrimage site, the largest hollow stupa among all the Buddhist stupas in the world. The regional branch of the Bombay High Court is also situated within the city.

According to a survey by ABP News-Ipsos, Nagpur was identified as the best city in India, topping in livability, greenery, public transport, and health care indices in 2013. The city was adjudged the 20th cleanest city in India and the top mover in the western zone as per Swachh Sarvekshan 2016. It was awarded the best city for innovation and best practices in Swachh Sarvekshan 2018. It was also declared open defecation free in January 2018 under Swachh Bharat Mission. It is also one of the safest cities for women in India. The city also ranked 25th in the Ease of Living index 2020 among 111 cities in India. It was ranked the 8th most competitive city in the country by the Institute for Competitiveness for 2017.

It is famous for Nagpur oranges and is sometimes known as Orange City for being a major trade centre of oranges cultivated in large part of the region. It is also called the Tiger Capital of India or the Tiger Gateway of India, as many tiger reserves are located in and around the city and also hosts the regional office of the National Tiger Conservation Authority. The city was founded in 1702 by the Gond King Bakht Buland Shah of Deogarh and later became a part of the Maratha Empire under the royal Bhonsale dynasty. The British East India Company took over Nagpur in the 19th century and made it the capital of the Central Provinces and Berar. After the first re-organisation of states, the city lost its status as the capital. Following the informal Nagpur Pact between political leaders, it was made the second capital of Maharashtra.


A Growing and emerging city needing a modern transport system

Nagpur is an emerging metropolis. Nagpur’s nominal GDP was estimated to be around Rs. 1,406,860 million in 2019–20, making it the most important economic centre in central India. Nagpur district has a per-capita GDP of Rs. 270,617 as of the 2019-20 financial year, the highest in central India. In 2004, it was ranked the fastest-growing city in India regarding the number of households with an annual income of Rs. 10 million or more. Nagpur has been the main centre of commerce in the region of Vidarbha since its early days and is an important trading location. Although Nagpur’s economic importance gradually declined relative to Mumbai and Pune after merging Vidarbha into Maharashtra because of a period of neglect by the state government, the city’s economy recovered.

The city is essential for the banking sector as it hosts the regional office of the Reserve Bank of India, which was opened on 10 September 1956. The Reserve Bank of India has two branches in Nagpur, one of which houses India’s total gold assets. Sitabuldi market in central Nagpur, known as the city’s heart, is the primary commercial market area. Nagpur is home to ice-cream manufacturer Dinshaws, Indian dry food manufacturer Haldiram’s, Indian ready-to-cook food manufacturer Actchawa, spice manufacturer Suruchi International, Ayurvedic products company Vicco and Baidyanath and Explosives & Ammunition company Solar Industries.

For centuries, Nagpur has been famous for its orange gardens in the country, hence the name ‘Orange City. Orange cultivation has been expanding and is the biggest marketplace for oranges in the country. The Maharashtra Agro-Industrial Development Corporation has its multi-fruit processing division called Nagpur Orange Grower’s Association (NOGA) which has an installed capacity of 4,950 MT of fruits per annum. Orange is also exported to various regions in the country and other countries. Nagpur is also famous for the cotton and silk weaved by its large Koshti population of handloom weavers, which are around 5,000.

Nagpur and the Vidarbha region have a significant power sector compared to the rest of Maharashtra. Koradi Thermal Power Station and Khaparkheda Thermal Power Station are two major thermal power stations located near Nagpur and operated by MSPGCL. In addition, NTPC has a super thermal power plant called Mauda Super Thermal Power Station in Mauda, around 40 km from Nagpur and Vidarbha Industries Power Limited (a subsidiary of Reliance Power) is situated at Butibori.

The Multi-modal International Hub Airport at Nagpur (MIHAN) is an ongoing project for the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport, Nagpur. The government of Maharashtra formed a particular purpose entity, Maharashtra Airport Development Company, to develop MIHAN.


Nagpur Metro

The state government of Maharashtra announced the Nagpur Metro project with the expenses of INR 4,400 Cr and 3,800 Cr for its first phase, which consists of two corridors – a north-south corridor and an east-west corridor of 39.4 km.

The site inspection began in March 2012 with initiatives from Nagpur Improvement Trust. An SPV executes the project called Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Limited (erstwhile Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation Ltd.). In July 2015, the project was approved by the government of Maharashtra. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated operations on Nagpur Metro on 7 March 2019 via video conferencing along with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union Cabinet Minister Nitin Gadkari. On 15 August 2022, Nagpur Metro recorded a single-day ridership of 90,758 passengers.


Nagpur Broad-Gauge Metro 


Urban Mass Transit Company prepared a report. Four routes of approximately 270 km were proposed at the cost of Rs. 418 crores. Three coach trains will run on Indian Railways’ broad gauge tracks at a maximum operating speed of 160 km/h. The passenger capacity of each train is 885. The final detailed project report was submitted in August 2019. The expected ridership of the Metro in 2021 on the various routes is Wardha 5,669, Narkhed 2,616, Ramtek 3,929 and Bhandara Road 2,556. The total ridership is 14,700. The maximum design speed will be 200 kilometres per hour, and the operating speed will be 160 km/hr. 

The Government of Maharashtra cleared the broad gauge metro proposal in March 2019. The Railway Board Ministry of Railways under the Government of India approved the DPR in November 2019. Nagpur broad-gauge Metro is a commuter rail project planned for the city of Nagpur and extending up to adjacent areas of Wardha, Yavatmal, Narkhed, Ramtek, Bhandara, Amravati, Wada and Chhindwara (also Nagbhid shortly) in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Limited will execute this project. The project is estimated to cost INR 418 Cr and consists of four routes, each originating from Nagpur and terminating at Narkhed, Ramtek, Wardha and Bhandara.


Project Details & Routes


The proposed routes of the Nagpur Commuter Rail Project are as under”

  • Nagpur – Wardha – Yavatmal
  • Nagpur – Wardha – Amravati
  • Nagpur – Wardha – Chandrapur
  • Nagpur – Bhandara
  • Nagpur – Ramtek
  • Nagpur – Narkhed

Interchanges will be implemented with phase 1 of Nagpur Metro at Khapri, Nagpur Railway Station and Ajni.  The minimum fare for distances up to 5 km will be Rs. 20 while that above 70 km will be Rs. 90. Monthly pass tickets will range from Rs. 400 to Rs 1,800.


Coimbatore Broad Gauge Metro

Coimbatore Broad Gauge Metro Railway Cum Coimbatore Suburban Railway or Kovai Metro Cum Suburban Railway is a Broad Gauge Metro Cum Suburban railway planned for Coimbatore city. The circular railway line will help run through Coimbatore Junction, Podanur, Vellalore, Irugur, Singanallur, Pilamedu and Coimbatore North. This will undoubtedly help decongest the city roads since this circular line passes through the main parts of Coimbatore city and ends within the city limits, so this circular line is an urban line. Moreover, restoring the old Main Line (Broad Gauge Vellore Station) Nanjundapuram Railway link line lengths 1 km will help plan a circular urban electric train track. A senior official with the Salem division says, ‘if the revival of an old line can bring about so many benefits, it can be considered. However, the Implementation of this project gets delayed due to the Proposed Coimbatore Metro.


Project Details: Routes


These are the five routes.

  • Coimbatore Jn – Mettupalayam
  • Coimbatore Jn. – Pollachi Jn.
  • Coimbatore Jn – Tiruppur
  • Coimbatore Jn – Palakkad Jn
  • Coimbatore Jn – Irugur Jn – Podanur In – Coimbatore Jn (Proposed for Both Metro and Mainline Routes) (circular line as well as an urban line). 


Local passenger trains from Coimbatore Junction operate on all the sub-urban routes except the Coimbatore Jn – Irugur Jn – Coimbatore Jn (circular line and urban line). 


Suburban Stations 

The other stations serving Coimbatore include Coimbatore North Junction (CBF), Podanur Junction (PTJ), Irugur Junction (IGU), Madukkarai (MDKI), Pilamedu (PLMD), Singanallur (SHI), Sulur Road railway station (SUU), Periyanaickenpalayam railway station (PKU) and Somanur (SNO). Other stations like Chettipalayam, Urumandampalayam, Veerapandi and Pudupalayam are defunct. The people have asked to reopen the stations. The 1 km long Nanjundapuram Railway link line became completely defunct and was dismantled soon after the Coimbatore North – Irugur line was put to use. 

Restoration of this Nanjundapuram Railway link line will help plan circular suburban electric train tracks connecting major train stations in the outskirts of Coimbatore like Mettupalayam, Irugur, Podanur, Pollachi etc., to ease growing peripheral traffic. Reopening this defunct Nanjundapuram Railway line & Station can benefit residents from Nanjundapuram, Ramanathapuram, Redfields, Puliakulam, Sowripalayam, Udayampalayam, Singanallur, Varadarajapuram, Uppilipalayam and Ondipudur areas of Coimbatore for train connections to onward destinations. Irugur via Nanjundapuram: This bye-pass connection from Irugur – Podanur line to Coimbatore bypassing Podanur had been laid long back at a time when Coimbatore was connected only from Podanur as a branch from Irugur–Podanur–Shoranur line. It was done to facilitate trains from Erode side to go to Coimbatore directly. However, this connection became superfluous when Coimbatore was directly connected from the Irugur side via Pilamedu and Coimbatore North in 1953, and accordingly, this link line was removed then. Since the doubling work between Irugur–Coimbatore section is in progress, these double lines will be utilised for suburban traffic if required. This is the poignant backdrop of Nanjundapuram Railway Station, now defunct.


Coimbatore Broad Gauge Metro & Suburban Railway
Other Name(s) Koval Suburban Rail
Status Planned
Owner Indian Railways
Locale Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
Termini Coimbatore Junction
Connecting Lines Mettupalayam, Pollachi, Palakkad, Tiruppur, and Kovai circular lines.
Type Suburban Rail
Services 05 Routes
Operator(s) Southern Railway
Depot(s) Coimbatore
Number of Tracks  Single, Double
Track Gauge 5 ft 06 in (1,676 mm) Broad Gauge
Old Gauge Metre Gauge
Electrification 25kV, 50 Hz, AC through overhead catenary
Operating Speed 80 Kmph
Signalling Railway Signalling


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