Mega plan to link Delhi ring rail, Metro network
Move may reduce traffic by half
NEW DELHI: The rail ministry has set the wheels in motion to revive and integrate Delhi’s 43-year-old ring rail system with the Metro in a bid to give the Capital a comprehensive suburban network that will unclog the city’s roads, railway minister Piyush Goyal said.
Goyal added the integrated network, coupled with Metro interchanges, can make “50% cars go off the roads”. He said that a study had been ordered to work out what would be needed to make this project work.
The railways is also looking at creating a separate bypass for freight trains to reduce the load on tracks that ferry passengers. “Delhi being in the heart of country, four railways come through Delhi. So the whole Delhi network is clogged like crazy. (With the bypass), whichever train that doesn’t have to come to Delhi will bypass it,” the minister said.
Delhi has 35 km of ring rail network that criss-crosses the 231-km Metro network at several locations. But due to lack of planning, the link between the Metro and rail systems has not been established.
“My officers are already deputed to study a plan for Delhi built around the (suburban) ring railway. Metro interchanges will be there (on top of this). Metro has been a boon for Delhi. Suburban railway, coupled with Metro interchanges, can make literally 50% cars go off roads,” Goyal said.
All seven members of Parliament from Delhi recently met the railway minister and demanded redevelopment and decongestion of the city’s railway stations and suggested that a suburban network could improve connectivity. “We requested the minister to have AC coaches in the suburban railway to attract commuters and improve the existing network. The decongestion of areas around stations was also taken up to make it accessible,” said Maheish Girri, BJP MP from East Delhi.
According to a senior railway official, a feasibility study has been commissioned to look at the best plan suited for Delhi.
“The study will suggest whether we need to build new lines or linkages to connect the Metro and ring rail systems with each other. We are most probably looking at linkages and interchanges with the Metro system,” said the official.
The minister and the official did not give details of the estimated cost of the project.
The ring rail system was constructed in 1975 for carrying goods, and started running passenger trains in 1982.
The study will also focus on existing and proposed Master Plans and land-use planning along the ring rail routes. “For the revival of ring railway, we need to assess the need for additional land for tracks, stations and approach roads,” another railway officer added.