Side Tracked: Pune-Lonavala third and fourth railway track project stalled

Existing Pune and Lonavala tracks are planned for local trains, while new third and fourth tracks will accommodate mail, express, freight trains.
Side Tracked: Pune-Lonavala third and fourth railway track project stalled

Pune: The ambitious project to add third and fourth railway tracks between Pune and Lonavala remains under consideration by the state government, despite four years having passed since the submission of the first detailed project report (DPR) and over nine months since a revised report was presented.

Initially estimated at ₹4,884 crore five years ago, the cost of the project has now increased to ₹5,100 crore. This ₹216 crore rise in cost highlights the financial impact of the delays.

Despite the submission of two DPRs, the project remains "on the side track" due to a lack of state government approval. The state government's timely action and approval are essential for the project's progression, ensuring enhanced railway infrastructure and commuter convenience.

The railway was prepared to commence the project independently, with the former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis committing state government participation and a 50% cost share. The implementation responsibility was handed to the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC). However, the state government has yet to approve or fund the project, stalling progress and escalating costs. This inaction also continues to inconvenience passengers.

Addressing this issue in the upcoming legislative session could expedite the project, greatly benefiting commuters in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad by increasing the number of mail and express trains and improving local train services.

Following state government suggestions, MRVC submitted a revised DPR on July 4, 2023, estimating a cost of ₹5,100 crore. The state government's approval is pending, and the Railway Ministry awaits this approval to proceed, leaving the project in limbo.

The existing tracks between Pune and Lonavala are planned for local trains, while the new third and fourth tracks will accommodate mail, express, and freight trains. The railway's operations department will finalize these plans.

Commuter Impact

The Pune-Lonavala route currently struggles with delays and limited service expansions due to insufficient tracks. The addition of the third and fourth tracks is critical to addressing these issues, improving punctuality and service frequency, and positively impacting the Pune-Mumbai train schedule.

  • Pune-Mumbai trains: 79

  • Pune-Lonavala locals: 42

  • Over 1.5 lakh daily passengers

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