Milestone in rapid public transport! Delhi-Meerut Corridor, India’s 1st RRTS, to become operational in 2023

Updated: Dec 07, 2020 9:53 AM

With agreements with multilateral agencies resolving funding issues, work is in full swing to launch the first stretch of Meerut corridor by 2023

The RRTS rolling stock is being manufactured by Bombardier at Savli in Gujarat under the ‘Make-in-India’ initiative, using 83% local content.The RRTS rolling stock is being manufactured by Bombardier at Savli in Gujarat under the ‘Make-in-India’ initiative, using 83% local content.

By Nivedita Mukherjee

With financing concerns having been resolved after loan approval from multilateral institutions in recent months, India’s urban transport landscape is set for a major transformation when the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS Corridor, India’s first regional rapid transit system (RRTS), becomes operational in 2023, ushering seamless connectivity in the National Capital Region (NCR). The corridor would connect regional nodes in NCR and shorten the Delhi-Meerut transit to less than 60 minutes from the 3-4 hours taken by road, besides reducing congestion and pollution.

Work is now in full swing on a more than 50-km stretch– from Sahibabad to Shatabdi Nagar (Meerut), including the construction of Ghaziabad, Sahibabad, Guldhar and Duhai stations – of the project. While a 17-km priority section between Sahibabad and Duhai is scheduled to commence operations in 2023, the entire corridor would be opened to the public by 2025. Says Vinay Kumar Singh, MD, National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC), “NCR is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world and a high-speed, high-frequency regional mobility solution is the need of the hour.”

With a project cost of Rs 30,274 crore, the 82-km-long corridor is one of the three high priority corridors to be built by the NCRTC, carrying 100% India-made, aerodynamic trains with a design speed of 180 kmph. The Meerut RRTS is estimated to have a daily ridership of more than 7,40,000 passengers by 2024 and 1.1 million passengers by 2041.

The project received a shot in the arm in November when the Centre signed a loan agreement worth $500 million with the New Development Bank (NDB) for the project. In August, the Asian Development Bank had approved a $1-bn loan for the purpose. The ADB signed an agreement with the Centre for the loan’s first tranche of `500 mn in September. The agreement on co-financing the project also includes the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which committed $500 mn for the corridor on March 24.

The multilateral funds would go into advanced technologies such as ETCS Level-2 signalling systems, ballastless tracks and track fastening systems, which are to be used in India for the first time. The proceeds of the ADB loan would be used to finance civil works, tracks, station buildings, multi-modal hubs, etc. The NDB loan comes as a major boost to the Centre’s vision of an Atmanirbhar Bharat as it would aid development of indigenous capacity and be utilised to finance rolling stock, signalling system, operational structures, train control, telecommunication system and other miscellaneous works on the corridor.

The RRTS rolling stock is being manufactured by Bombardier at Savli in Gujarat under the ‘Make-in-India’ initiative, using 83% local content. The NCRTC would procure 30 train sets of 6 cars each to operate services on the corridor.

Besides the Delhi-Meerut corridor, the NCRTC would be building the Delhi-Gurugram-SNB-Alwar and Delhi-Panipat RRTS corridors under Phase-1 of the transport plan that aims to improve regional connectivity. Pre-construction activities are in full swing for the Delhi-Gurugram-SNB corridor and its DPR is under active consideration of the Centre. The DPR of the Delhi-Panipat corridor is also under active consideration of the respective state governments. According to the plan, all three Phase-I RRTS corridors would converge at Sarai Kale Khan in Delhi and be inter-operable. The RRTS stations would be integrated with nearby metro and railway stations, inter-state bus terminals and airport for seamless connectivity.

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