Churchgate-Virar Skybus Metro Rail option

Doc: Atrilab.skybus.mumbai.080327.v.1.01
Why not Skybus Standard Gauge Metro rail?
This technology can permit rail transport without disturbing the existing buildings and along the suburban tracks.
Times of India 26 March 08
“Be It Railways Or Airlines, City Now Looks To Be On Fast Track

Elevated rail corridor plan gathers steam Devraj Dasgupta | TNN
Mumbai: In a super-quick followup to the railway budget announcement of an elevated corridor from Churchgate to Virar, a high-level delegation from the Railway Board will be in Mumbai on March 27 to brief interested bidders on the ground realities. The ministry’s mandarins will elicit the response of interested parties the very next day at a prebid meeting in New Delhi.
Western Railway officials, however, say that the stretch from Churchgate to Mumbai Central neither needs nor allows for an elevated corridor. “There is scarcely any free space alongside the tracks between Churchgate and Mumbai Central. The tracks are surrounded by important private properties which will surely be a hurdle in constructing pillars for an elevated corridor,’’ said a WR official. “Besides, this stretch of south Mumbai has good road connectivity and might render an additional corridor financially unviable.’’
The need for an elevated corridor, if possible, is beyond Dadar to Virar, say WR officials. “The demographic transition over the years has shifted the commuter load between Dadar and Dahisar.” Unquote.

The route is indicated as below.

For the approximately 55 km route between Churchgate and Virar the Skybus Standard gauge metro rail ( the red line in the picture above ), at Rs 60 cr per km of double route, including rolling stock, sufficient to provide
1. 50,000 passenger per peak direction per hour,
2. the project will cost Rs 3300 cr with
3. stations spaced at about 1.5 to 2 km. all air-conditioned stations and
4. coaches too air-conditioned, with about 30% provided seating and rest standing passengers ,
5. each train carrying 800 passengers with two units each of 20m length and
6. provision for trains of 1200 capacity with three units having total train length of 60 m for which the stations are designed.
7. The frequency of service is service every one minute.
8. An executive class to cover 25% of passengers can be provided at 4 times the economy fare.
9. The maximum speed will be limited to 120 kmph but the average may work out to just about 45 kmph because of halts.
10. A fast service with stops at 3 to 4 km can yield average sped of 65 kmph. Which means Virar to Churchgate will be covered with 50 to 55 min.

Safety & technology risk to capital

All the signal train control systems ( to CENELEC standards) and the entire rail system will be safety certified by third party safety certifiers duly internationally accredited. Only after proving the first stretch of 1km route, to international safety standard the full project will be undertaken, limiting any risk to the capital. There is very little chance of failure, but considering even remote probability, the civil structure will become a parallel 3 lane flyover road for road traffic.


Assuming 8 hours of full capacity utilization and 10 hours of 70% utilization,
The ridership is 8 lac passenger seats in peak period and 7 lac during off peak period., totaling 15 lac passenger seats which earn revenue, per day. Average lead could be assumed to be 20 km on this route at Rs 10 per ticket ( the min entry charge can be Rs 10), can yield Rs 150 lacs per day. The total gross revenue could be between Rs 450 cr to Rs 500 cr and we may charge floating population at higher fares.
The system is practically made maintenance free and the operating costs are comprising mainly the energy charges. Even the staff costs will be low. The net revenues could be at least 60% of the gross, which is Rs 300 cr. So if 30% of the Capital cost, which is 0.3x3300= Rs990 cr is covered by Railway Equity, then debt of Rs 3300cr- Rs 990cr = Rs 2310 cr which can be serviced by Rs 300 cr.

The approximate break up for the project cost:
1. Fixed assets: Civil, structural works, stations, track and traction arrangements Rs 2000 cr
2. Rolling stock : Rs 1300 cr.( 300 units of 20m long twin sky-bus units- each Skybus only 10m long) including the driving gear and automation.

If there are regular commuters totaling 10 lacs, and we sell monthly journey Smart cards at Rs 500 entitling travel of 1000 km per month, then we get Rs 600 cr annually and the floating population of 50 thousands charged at Rs 2 per km travel with a lead of 20km yielding Rs350 cr annually! This model can make it very comfortable to service the debt. But it depends on the potential on the route and we remember the suburban train also runs at lower pricing and we have to create a value proposition. A higher value perception for executive class with comfortable journey for the rest can be priced appropriately to unlock real value of the potential on the route. Details have to be worked out but prima-facie it will be a profitable proposition.

Additional benefits:
The railway will now be able to promote and take the Rs 100,000 cr urban transport pie fully in the country and much more in the world.

The production units of railways will be totally involved for delivery of the new technology products at profitable prices too!

While RDSO, ( the research wing of Ministry) will get access to all the technology, the development and certification will be through reputed accredited international certifiers, because the standard gauge technology as well as the Skybus technology is not available with them.

The RS 50 cr which Ministry spent through Konkan Railway on the world’s first test track for Skybus at Margao, will become meaningful and well spent with this step.

The present Hon'ble Minister and the Board will be able to rightfully take credit for putting India on the World Metro rail scene as the leader and not a mere procurer of outside technologies.

B. Rajaram M.Tech FIE., FNAE
Inventor Skybus Metro rail.
Former MD Konkan Railway/ Min. of Railways.
Dt. 27th March. 2008


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