The South Central Railway (SCR) has decided to abandon its plan of taking the on-ground railway line to the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in Shamshabad with the State government firming up the plan to take up the ₹6,250-crore Hyderabad Airport Metro Express till the passenger terminal from Raidurg/Mindspace Junction.
Railways had completed electrification and doubling of the line up to Umdanagar, which is a mere 6 km from the airport, last year. The public sector giant was amenable to lay the line up to the airport if the State government and private sector partner accorded necessary permissions.
“It would have cost about ₹125 crore to take the electrified railway line up to the airport terminal using the latest technology from the Umdanagar station. But, the airport authorities have offered us land up to the cargo terminal only, a considerable distance from the main terminal,” informed senior railway officials, seeking anonymity.
The Airport Metro Express promises to take passengers from the proposed multi-level Raidurg metro station to the airport in 26 minutes flat along the Outer Ring Road. The proposed airport station will be underneath the passenger terminal and will transport passengers to the gates through lifts, escalators and stairs, airport metro officials said.
Interestingly, senior railway officials disclosed that the airport authorities concerned had considered going ahead with the on-ground railway line till very recently as it would have been an affordable public transport system for its employees and those working in the manufacturing or warehousing units nearby. “Preliminary discussions were held but those did not fructify because no one was sure of the government’s stand on the issue in view of the MMTS phase two experience,” they added.
‘Connect to Umdanagar’
Meanwhile, the Suburban Train Travellers Association general secretary Noor Mohammed, who has been highlighting the need for local trains connecting the suburbs for years, has urged the government and the Hyderabad Airport Metro Limited to consider linking Umdanagar station to the upcoming Airport Metro Express.
“We are happy that the government has decided to build the Airport Metro but it is essential to link it with the Umdanagar railway station. SCR should take the initiative to develop Umdanagar station with modern amenities and ensure main express trains halt there. It will help passengers from districts of Nizamabad, Kamareddy, Mahabubnagar, Kurnool, Nandyal etc. to reach the airport by taking the metro from the station,” he suggested.