The Pune-Nashik semi high speed train service, which aims to bring down travel time between the two cities to only two hours, will become a reality by 2024, said an official with the Maharashtra Railway Infrastructure Development Corporation (MRIDC). Currently, the travel time between the two cities is five hours.
Last week, the Central Railway gave its go-ahead for the revised detailed project report (DPR) prepared by MRIDC. The agency will now seek approval from the Railway Board and Maharashtra government to start work on the 231.716-km double line.
The proposed train will run at a speed of 200 kmph and stop at a total of 24 stations passing through the three districts of Pune, Ahmednagar and Nashik.
MRIDC, also known as MahaRail, was formed in September 2018 as a joint venture between the Ministry of Railways and the Maharashtra government, both 50 per cent stakeholders, as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to expedite infrastructural projects.
“The DPR for the ‘Greenfield Semi High Speed Double Line Railway Network’ has received approval on February 10 from Central Railway. Now we are seeking a formal approval from the state government to start the construction between Pune and Nashik. Once, the approvals are granted by respective authorities, the project is estimated to be completed in 1,200 days from the date of financial closure,” said an MahaRail official.
The entire cost of the project has been pegged at about Rs 16,039 crore, of which Rs 3,208 crore is to be raised by both state and central governments, and the remaining amount will be borrowed from national and international agencies. The project will require acquisition of about 1,300 hectares of land. During the course of the route, the broadway double line will pass through 20 tunnels, which will have to be constructed.
“The semi-high speed trains will complete the Pune-Nashik journey within two hours. MRIDC has envisaged the coaching configuration of six rakes with a carrying capacity of 450 passengers per train… a total number of 48 trips made by six rakes in a day, for the initial phase, has been planned,” said the official.
The project not only aims to reduce the travel time between two rapidly growing cities of Maharashtra significantly, it also aims to act as a catalyst for the growth of the industrial corridor along the way by providing seamless connectivity to the industrial zones of Pune and Nashik such as Alandi, Chakan, Khed, Manchar, Narayangaon, Sinnar and Satpur.
“Apart from these MIDC areas, the proposed line will cater to another important special economic zone (SEZ), in Khed, Narayangaon and Manchar. This project will also benefit tourism and pilgrimage sites located on the Pune-Nashik corridor,” said the official.
This will be the first low-cost, semi high speed railway corridor in the country. The project will also have other components such as container depots along the rail corridor, a private freight terminal (PFT), dry port, a Multi Model Logistics and Commercial Hub and Warehouses at locations suggested by local industries.