MUMBAI: The city of Mumbai on Sunday got its third suburban railway terminus on Central Railway and also the world's third longest monorail network connecting parts of the city that had remained inaccessible due to lack of adequate transport facilities.
Rail minister Piyush Goyal and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis inaugurated these services along with several other projects, important among which are the vista-dome coaches for the Matheran toy train.
Over the last few years, Parel has metamorphosed into a bustling business district from a humble cotton-mill premise. Daily footfall at Parel station is nearly 1.80 to 2 lakh. This had put the transport infrastructure in the area under severe strain, even resulting in the loss of 23 lives two years back in a stampede, on the foot over bridge at the station.
The idea of the terminus, which was mooted much before the accident, was then put on fast track. To begin with 24 suburban services would originate from the terminus during peak hours and the number would be increased to 32 very soon, officials said during the inaugural ceremony.
The terminus also assumes importance as it provides facility to interchange trains between central and western suburban services. This would be more beneficial to commuters wanting to avail medical facilities, as Parel also houses majority of prime government and private hospitals, including the Tata Cancer Hospital.
Rail minister Goyal also announced an increase in the number of services of the 15-coach rake between CSMT and Kalyan during peak hours. This would prevent over crowding in trains at peak hours, he said.
Goyal, along with Fadnavis, also inaugurated the second phase of the monorail between Wadala and Jecob Circle. The first phase of the project was inaugurated in 2012. However, it failed to pick up commercially and eventually the company running it backed off from the project. The services completely stopped after the coaches were engulfed by a fire.
The 20-km stretch of the second phase inaugurated on Sunday would provide much needed connectivity between the unconnected parts of the city, CM Fadnavis said as he took a ride on the route.
"This is the third longest operational route of monorail in the world," Fadnavis said.