Mumbai (Metro Rail News) – As the government is looking for a revival of the economy which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, the Maharashtra government has put on its large infrastructure projects on the fast track. One of these is the delayed Pune-Nashik semi-high speed rail link, which would bring down travel time between these two cities from the present six-seven hours to approx two hours.
Estimated to be the first low-cost semi-high speed corridor in the country, the 233-km-long line would cost Rs 16,039 crore and will have trains running at a speed of 200kmph. It will be constructed by the Maharashtra Rail Infrastructure Development Corporation (MRIDC), a 50:50 joint venture between the government of Maharashtra and the Ministry of Railways. The state and the Centre would provide Rs 3,208 crore each for the project and the rest would come from funding agencies in India and overseas.
As the pandemic has badly hit the economy, the government has put land acquisition work on the fast track.
In all, 1,470 hectares of land would be required in Pune, Ahmednagar and Nashik districts; the rail line would pass through 112.10 km in Pune, 58 km in Ahmednagar and 63.75 km in Nashik. Around 575 hectares have to be acquired in Pune’s Haveli, Junnar and Ambegaion tehsils.
MRIDC officials are confident of completing the project in approx three years once construction work starts. To save time, MRIDC would carry out in-house design and drawing work, doing away with consultants. It would also be the first such rail project to see both the lines being constructed simultaneously.
The broad-gauge line would start at the Pune Railway Station and terminate at the existing Nashik Railway Station, with 24 stations in all. There would be multimodal hubs at major railway stations along the route, ensuring connectivity to bus terminuses, metro stations and freight terminals.
MRIDC plans to procure six train sets with six coaches each, allowing a passenger load of 450 per journey. Revenue from the line is estimated at Rs 1,643 crore in FY25 and Rs 2,394 crore in FY30. The rail link between Pune and Nashik is expected to decongest NH 60 which sees the movement of 51,000 tonnes of freight every day, passing through around a dozen industrial and agro-processing zones. Passenger movement between Pune and Nashik is estimated to reach 87,629 a day in 2024