Tag Archives: Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC).

First Ever Cost-sharing likely for rapid rail

The Rapid Rail Transit System (RRTS) proposed for the 125.65-km stretch between Thiruvananthapuram and Chengannur is likely to be the first project to be executed on cost-sharing basis between the State and Railways. The RRTS has been mooted to make travel hassle-free for short-distance commuters, overcome the inability to introduce additional trains in the busy corridor with the existing rail infrastructure, and lessen road congestion.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) being worked out for the cost-sharing of the new railway projects to be executed in the State will cover the RRTS also.

The MoU, drafted by the Transport Department after scrutiny of the Finance Department, is being vetted by the Law Department, official sources said.

Once the MoU is cleared by the State government, the Railway Board should give its approval. Although Railways had proposed 50:50 cost-sharing for the projects to be executed in the new mode, they want the State to meet 76 per cent of the cost of the RRTS, an initiative of the State government.

The detailed project report (DPR) has reached the office of the Prime Minister’s Office. The RRTS is to figure in a meeting of MPs called by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in New Delhi on December 9.

The DPR, prepared by the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) and approved by the government last year, has projected the cost at Rs.3,330.78 crore. The MRVC has found that the RRTS is cost-effective, and requires only an upgrade of the existing railway network. Besides, the corridor can emerge as a continuous urban segment.

Of the estimated cost, Rs.1,200 crore is needed for rolling stock, Rs.1,025 crore for civil work, Rs.554.46 crore for signalling and telecom, Rs.172 crore for electrical work, and the remaining for other expenses.

Minimum fare

The RRTS will see the railway line divided into a series of sections of one km, and the average speed will be 57 kmph.

The minimum fare recommended in the RRTS is Rs.10 with a price range of 80 paise to Rs.2 per km.

RRTS Project Director Tomy Cyriac told The Hindu that efforts are on get the MoU approved and to approach Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu after the meeting of the MPs.

Detailed project report says system is cost-effective and requires only an upgrade of the existing railway network.


  • MoU being vetted by the Law Department

  • Detailed project report says system is cost-effective and requires only an upgrade of the existing railway network


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Posted by on November 22, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Mega MUTP-III set in motion, three projects to be taken up

Mumbai suburban railway’s most ambitious rejuvenation plan — the third phase of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) — was set in motion on Monday with Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) calling for engineering design for three major components. These are the construction of two more lines between Virar and Dahanu, the creation of a two-line suburban corridor between Panvel and Karjat and a 4km elevated two-line corridor between Airoli and Kalwa.

The MRVC has asked firms to come forward with detailed engineering designs as well as project management consultancy for the three works by December.

The Virar-Dahanu 3rd and 4th lines, which will allow more suburban trains to Dahanu, will cost Rs2,558 crore of which Rs2,046 crore will be a World Bank loan and the rest Rs512 crore will be shared equally by the railway ministry and government of Maharashtra.

The second is the Panvel Karjat suburban line that will cut the distance between CST and Karjat from 100 to just 77km. At current cost, it has an estimate of Rs1,561 crore of which the World Bank loan would be Rs1,249 crore. The rest — Rs312 crore would be shared by the state government and the railways. On completion, it would have a price tag of Rs2,024 crore.

The third is the elevated Airoli-Kalwa connector, a 4km elevated rail corridor. The current price of the project is Rs356 crore, which includes a World Bank loan of Rs285 crore and the rest Rs71 crore shared by the state and the railway ministry. At completion, the cost would be Rs428 crore with the World Bank component standing at Rs342 crore and the state-railway share totaling Rs86 crore.

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Posted by on November 12, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Soon, post feedback on rail site and get response

A dedicated website to seek suggestions on improving the suburban railway network will be launched by the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC). The portal is being set up on the directions of railway minister Suresh Prabhu.

“Commuters can expect a response on the proposals submitted by them within a month. A person will be deputed to coordinate with the various agencies of the railways to collate the reply,” said an MRVC official.

The railway administration has instructed officials at the zonal and divisional levels to set up Twitter handles to solicit feedback from the passengers. “Efforts are being made to get details of drawbacks and shortcomings so that we can improve the service that is used by most Mumbaikars,” added an MRVC source.

As many as 75 lakh commuters use the city’s lifeline. Currently, passengers have to submit their recommendations to the general manger or the divisional railway manager’s office.

“It is better to get commuters connected to the planning mechanism of the railways. They are regular travellers and some of them may definitely come up with brilliant ideas that can alleviate hardships of thousands,” a railway official said. The railway administration has a consultative body at the divisional and zonal levels where representatives of political parties and NGOs can take up issues. “The system will succeed only if typical bureaucratic replies are not given to citizens,” said Subash Gupta of the Railway Yatri Sangh.


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Posted by on September 8, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Season ticket fares may be hiked by cash-strapped rlys

The cash-strapped Mumbai suburban railways is looking for alternative sources of funding to boost finances so that capacity addition projects, passenger amenities and safety can be enhanced.

According to a white paper to be published by the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC), the suburban railways is staring at a loss of Rs 1,400 crore this financial year. The white paper is being prepared to highlight constraints under which the railways operates the suburban system.

Central Railway general manager S K Sood said, “Among the options under consideration is increasing fares of season tickets, levying a surcharge on passengers of long-distance trains, seeking a share for suburban railways from property tax and getting financial benefits from developers with real estate projects close to stations.”

The railways’ last attempt to increase fares of season tickets by tweaking the formula for number of trips charged had meet with stiff resistance. Monthly season tickets are charged an average of 11 trips but the railway had come up with a formula to charge for 25 trips. A senior official said, “We can go in for a gradual increase in trips so that losses are off-set. The policy of gradual increase was adopted when the government decided to deregulate diesel prices.”

Sood said there was a proposal to charge more for shorter-distance travel on suburban trains as they have options to travel by other modes of transport. People will prefer to travel by train even if there is an increase in fares for short distances because of speed and reliability, he added.

Sood said, “We can levy a surcharge of Rs10-50 per person, depending on class of travel, to get some revenue.”

Nearly 3.7 lakh passengers travel by long-distance trains each day. The railways can use the money to build amenities like more foot overbridges, toilets and escalators, he said.

Sood suggested that suburban fares should be linked to BEST bus fares. He said, “As and when BEST fares increase, the railways should also seek an upward revision.”

The railways could get benefits from property development because of the presence of a railway station or a line. An MRVC official said, “Everybody, including the state government, local self-government bodies and developers benefit from railway projects, except the organization that built the network.”

There was a suggestion to ask corporates to contribute in the form of taxes towards Mumbai suburban railways as their employees use the network.


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Posted by on August 15, 2015 in Uncategorized


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MRVC suggests different fares for slow, fast locals

Mounting losses, competition from Metro, Mono spark out-of-the-box thinking

A white paper to be submitted to the Railway Board also proposes the formation of a Suburban Rail Tariff Authority.

In a radical suggestion, the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) has proposed different fares for fast and slow locals in Mumbai and also an independent fare fixation committee for the suburban network.

In a white paper to be presented to the Ministry of Railways, MRVC, the nodal body for development of local rail network in Mumbai metropolitan region, has suggested that that local trains’ ticket pricing must take into account fares of competing modes of transport like BEST buses, Metro, and Mono.

Currently, the ticket prices for both fast and slow services are the same and the only price differential is between first and second-class tickets.

The same formula applies to season passes. If MRVC’s suggestion is accepted, a premium will be charged for fast trains.

The new thinking comes in the wake of the Western Railway preparing to introduce air-conditioned trains early next year. Since the fare structure of AC trains will be different, the corporation believes it also provides an opportunity to rationalise ticket prices across the suburban network. The white paper talks about how the transport landscape in Mumbai has changed with the introduction of Metro and Mono and stresses the need for local trains to keep pace.

Since a fare revision in Mumbai suburban system has always been a sensitive issue, the white paper suggests formation of an independent Suburban Rail Tariff Authority to fix ticket prices.

The white paper was ordered by Railway Minister Suresh P Prabhu with directions to cover the whole gamut of issues connected with Mumbai’s over-burdened local train network. Once the white paper is presented to the Railway Ministry, it will be put up for commuters’ suggestions.

Chapter 4 of the report, which deals with the economic status of Mumbai’s locals, states that the poor financial performance of the suburban network is a major concern and time has come for serious introspection and appropriate remedial measures.

The report states that Mumbai locals at present are the cheapest mode of public transport at 50 paise per km as compared to Metro at Rs 5 for a km, Monorail Rs 1.67 and BEST buses at Rs 4 for a km.

Mumbai suburban railway network’s losses have increased five fold in the past five years and the cumulative loss for 2014-15 stands at Rs 1400 crore.

Former chairman of Railway Board Vivek Sahai said different fares for slow and fast locals is the most practical solution to deal with the local train network’s failing financial health. “A passenger on long-distance train pays separate fare for fast and passenger trains, so why not on suburban railway? In Mumbai, time is important and local trains are the fastest mode. There could be separate colour-coded season ticket for slow and fast trains,” he said.

Transport expert Ashok Datar too agreed the differential fare structure could bail out the suburban railway system. “It is a very nice idea and we have been pushing this one for quite some time. This and many more such ideas could be tried out in the existing scenario to increase the revenue of suburban trains.”

Rajiv Singhal of the Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee, however, said different fares for fast and slow trains will work only if the former offer something more than a quicker commute.

Mumbai suburban railway runs 2923 services daily. This includes 1618 (245 fast) services on Central Railway and 1305 (466 fast) services on Western Railway. The report adds that with every new service introduced, the operating expenses go up. In 2004-05, the cost of running a single service of a 12-car rake was Rs 52.73 lakh. In 2013-14, it went up to Rs 97.14 lakh.

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Posted by on August 13, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Saving Mumbai’s suburban railways

A recent White Paper on the financial status of Mumbai’s suburban railway network reveals a sorry picture. Suburban railway operations had accumulated a loss of ₹4,150 crore in last five years. The loss was ₹1,112 crore in 2013-14 alone, revealed the study, conducted by the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation, a subsidiary of the Indian Railways.

The Corporation is responsible for operating three suburban lines — Central, Western and Harbour — in Mumbai. Considered lifeline of the financial capital, the suburban railway system carries an estimated 7.5 million passengers a day — more than the population of Washington DC! Other than occasionally hiking fares, the Corporation has made very little attempts to shore up revenues. Unless it can come up with some out of the box solutions, Mumbai’s suburban railways may go the way of other loss-making state-run utilities — operational perhaps, but with deteriorating quality of service.

The Railways could take a leaf out of the books of the recently launched Mumbai Metro. The Metro offers many concessions to attract commuters. Attracting users is not a problem for the suburban network, but it could work at improving yields. A simple move like giving at least a 25 per cent concession on first class suburban tickets on weekends itself can help. The second class compartments of local trains on weekends are so packed that commuters envy cattle. In contrast, the first class compartments are almost empty as most of the office goers are at home. The decision making in the Railways is so wrapped up in red tape that it hard to unravel. It may need Parliamentary approval to introduce a change in tariff or implement special concessions.

But tapping other means of revenue generation, such as putting tracts of surplus land to commercial use and boosting advertisement revenues don’t need such clearances. The Railways need to study why they failed — and also look at how the relatively new Metro services are working — to come up with solutions.

Business Line

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Posted by on July 25, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Suburban railways have lost Rs 4,150cr in last 5 years

Mumbai’s suburban railway system is deep in the red. Cumulative losses over the last five years have touched Rs 4,150 crore, and losses for the year 2013-2014 alone amounted to Rs 1,111.8 crore. The situation has sparked fears that the quality of services may be affected if a turnaround does not happen.

The situation has been deteriorating at an alarming rate since 2008-09, reveals a white paper on the entire suburban system – the Western, Central and Harbour lines – that the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) is preparing and that TOI has seen.

The losses had not breached the Rs 50 crore mark till 2006-07, but they zoomed to Rs 328.6 crore in 2008-09, the year in which the Central government announced payment of Sixth Pay Commission salaries with retrospective effect from January 1, 2006. An MRVC official said, “This dealt a body blow to the finances of suburban railway.”

After that, it has been all downhill, and according to the official, “from a profit of Rs 80 crore in 1999-2000, we are bleeding by more than Rs 1,000 crore per year. I suspect the losses may cross the Rs 1,400 crore mark for the financial year 2014-15.”

The introduction of more rakes and services over the years and the fact that the suburban system’s non-fare revenue is only 6.5% of its total revenue are among the factors that have contributed to the losses.

Another reason for the losses is the absence of political will to increase fares at periodic intervals. For example, there have been only three fare revisions since 1999: in 2003, in January 2013 and June 2014.

The white paper is being prepared on the directions of railway minister Suresh Prabhu, who himself is from Mumbai.

According to railway officials, the benefits of important projects like the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP-I) began to accrue around the same time as the losses mounted, but it has proved to be a costly affair. The first MRVC rake under the MUTP-I arrived in July 2007 and was put into service by November that year.

“In 1999-2000, there were only 123 12-car equivalent rakes. As the MUTP-I rakes began rolling out, the railways began not only to augment more 9-car services into 12-car and 15-car ones, it also introduced more services, increasing operation and maintenance costs,” an official said.

In 2008-09, the capacity of 12-car equivalent rakes increased to 148. The fleet strength is now 197, a 60% rise in rakes since 1999-2000. The number of services too has jumped from 1,544 in 1999 to 2,679, an increase of 73%.

Railway officials said the lack of finances is posing a problem for the upkeep of the system. MRVC’s chairman and MD Prabhat Sahai said, “We need innovative solutions to shore up finances. Not only a fare hike, but other options of beefing up finances are also necessary to increase passenger comfort.”


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Posted by on July 22, 2015 in Uncategorized


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