Budget 2018: Commuters in cities like Mumbai can look forward to some better travelling times as the Budget 2018 has proposed expanding the Mumbai suburban train network. Commuters in Bengaluru can also look forward to better times as plans are to develop local rail services there also. “The Mumbai transport system, which is the lifeline of the city, will be expanded and augmented to add 90 km of double line track at the cost of Rs 11,000 crore. An additional 150 km of suburban network is also being planned at a cost of Rs 40,000 crore, including elevated corridors at some sections,” finance minister Arun Jaitley said. The Mumbai’s suburban railway network is spread over 465 km at present. As per railway estimates, Mumbai’s suburban railways operates 2,342 local train services daily, ferrying 7.5 million-plus commuters everyday. The expansion of the network may ease the congestion in trains and stations faced by commuters.
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Last year, a huge crowd and confusion led to a stampede at Elphinstone railway station. Meanwhile, Bengaluru will get Rs 17,000 crore for building a local railway network. Karnataka is slated for poll later this year. “A suburban network of approximately 160 km at an estimated cost of Rs 17,000 crore is being planned to cater to the growth of the Bengaluru metropolitan,” Jaitley said. Soon after taking over as the railway minister late last year, Piyush Goyal commissioned a survey by the Rail India Technical and Economic Services for the suburban railway in Bengaluru and by January an integrated suburban railway network plan was ready for implementation in collaboration with the Karnataka government which was to provide land parcels.
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A day before, the state cabinet of Karnataka approved the first phase of the Bengaluru Suburban Rail Project to be implemented in the next three years. The first phase would cost Rs 349 crore and the state government will pitch in 20% of the cost and the Indian Railways paying the rest. Jaitley also said that 600 stations will be redeveloped with world-class facilities, and stations and trains will be provided with Wi-Fi facility. CCTV cameras will also be fitted across trains and stations to improve security.