India: High-Speed Rail Link to Bring Meerut Closer to Capital

By 2016, commuters from Meerut will benefit from a direct link to Sarai Kale Khan, which will help them reach the Capital in less than 70 minutes. The high-speed rail link will run through 17 stations, covering approximately 90 km from Modipuram, and terminate at Sarai Kale Khan, which is being developed as a major transport hub.

At present, a bus ride takes around two-and-a-half hours while trains take well over 90 minutes to reach Meerut from Delhi. The new rail link will not only cut travel time but also facilitate links with several modes of transport at Sarai Kale Khan for seamless travel across the National Capital Region (NCR).

This project is part of a larger Regional Rail Transit System (RRTS) plan to link the NCR through three high-speed rail links connecting Alwar, Meerut and Panipat to the Capital. The National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) has commissioned the Delhi Integrated Multi-modal Transit System (DIMTS), an autonomous government-funded body, to develop detailed project reports for the Meerut and Panipat link, while the Urban Mass Transit Company is working on the Alwar link.

The multi-modal transit centre at Sarai Kale Khan will integrate the existing Inter-State Bus Terminus and Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station with the upcoming Metro station at Nizamuddin on the Mukundpur-Yamuna Vihar-Mukundpur corridor of Phase-III. The Meerut and Alwar RRTS corridors will terminate here, with stations integrated at the centre. The Metro station as well as the RRTS stations are expected to be completed by 2016. The Railways has already started working towards developing the Sarai Kale Khan side entry to the Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station, and is finalising plans with the Transport department to link it to the ISBT through walkators.

The Meerut RRTS corridor will have 17 stations - Modipuram, Meerut North, Begumpul, HRS Chowk, Shatabdi Nagar, Shastri Nagar (Medical College), Nauchandi, Meerut South, Modinagar, Muradnagar, Duhai, Guldhar, Ghaziabad, Mohannagar, Sahibabad, Anand Vihar and Sarai Kale Khan/Nizamuddin. A portion of the stretch will span out from Shatabdi Nagar and run via Nauchandi to Shastri Nagar (Medical College).

The alignment of the corridor was recently finalised, and geo-technical and topographical surveys are currently being carried out to determine the exact locations of the stations. Sources said the line will have elevated as well as underground stretches.

Ridership forecasts, frequency of trains, signalling system, train speed and other specifications are still being worked out. Sources said the frequency of trains is likely to be around 10 minutes initially, and would be increased with accordance to the requirement.

Transit-oriented development zones are also being planned on the corridor, though the exact locations are still being worked out. As the increased connectivity is expected to develop housing and industrial areas on the corridor, it is expected to bring about a substantial hike in revenue.

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