The Mumbai Monorail is a monorail system in the city of Mumbai, India, part of a major expansion of public transport in the city. The project was implemented by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), along with a consortium of Mumbai-based conglomerate Larsen & Toubro and the Malaysian infrastructure firm Scomi Engineering Bhd. It is the first monorail in India since the Kundala Valley Railway and Patiala State Monorail Trainways were closed in the 1920s. Construction began in 2009 and the first operational line, between Wadala Depot and Chembur, was opened to the public on 2 February 2014. Trains run from 7am to 3pm IST in the initial stage. It is expected to operate for 19 hours straight by the end of March 2014. Monorail services between wadala depot and chembur extended to 14 hours straight from April 15.
BackgroundA station under construction inChembur
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) conceived the idea of an alternate means of transportation, which included the monorail, sometime in 2005 as part of Mumbai's transportation expansion plans, but the decision to introduce monorail as a feeder service to the mass rapid transit system (MRTS) was taken on 28 September 2008. An elevated monorail system was proposed as its narrow guide beams are suitable for congested cities like Mumbai where land is scarce. Monorails are eco-friendly, can handle sharp curves much better than normal trains and metros, as well as climb up and down easily. Monorails also do not obstruct light since they are much narrower than normal rail tracks. The straddle-type monorail design (named so because the train straddles a steel or reinforced concrete beam) was adopted in Mumbai.According to the MMRDA, the bus service operating in the city plied crowded and narrow areas at very slow speeds, thus offering no benefits to the commuters and adding to the traffic congestion. The agency believed that an elevated monorail, that can take sharp turns, climb up and down easily, and run at an average speed of 30 km/hr and maximum speed of 80 km/hr would address these issues. The MMRDA also stated that the monorail would connect many parts of the city which were not connected by suburban rail system or the proposed metro rail system. The agency also stated that the monorail would be an efficient feeder transit to the metro and suburban rail systems offering efficient, safe, air-conditioned, comfortable and affordable public transport to commuters.
Then Chief Minister of Maharashtra Vilasrao Deshmukh cleared the notification for the construction of the first monorail line in Mumbai on 18 August 2008. The line would connect Jacob Circle, Wadala and Mahul via Chembur, providing a feeder service to the existing Mumbai Suburban Railway. The notification formally appointed the MMRDA as the system administrator for the monorail project. It would be responsible for land acquisition along the route, and the construction, allied structures, signalling and safety of the monorail system. On 11 November 2008, Larsen and Toubro, along with Malaysian partner Scomi Engineering Bhd, were awarded a 24.6 billion (US$410 million) contract to build and operate the monorail until 2029.
The cost of setting up the monorail service is roughly 850 million (US$14 million) per km (mi). The complete network of about 135 kilometres (84 mi) is recommended for development from 2011 to 2031 in phases at the total cost of 2.0 billion.
A 108-meter test run was successfully conducted on 26 January 2010. The monorail had its first test run on 18 February 2012 from its yard in Wadala to the Bhakti Park monorail station, a distance of around a kilometre. Scomi, the Malaysian company that supplied the rakes for the project, was in charge of the trial. The first end-to-end test run of the rakes on the entire 8.26 km stretch from Wadala Depot to Chembur was conducted by the MMRDA in November 2012. The agency also completed the civil work related to the alignment, and shifted focus to completing the stations, as well as work on signaling and telecommunications. The trial was intended test the smoothness of the alignment, which was found to be fine, and fix technical issues. As part of the test run, the MMRDA first sent a shuttle down the alignment, followed by the full rakes. The rakes were operated at speeds up to 80 kmph, the maximum at which the monorail can operate. Empty rakes were also loaded with cement sacks to check whether the guideway beams on which the rakes run, could bear the weight.Then Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan laid the foundation stone in a ceremony at the Acres Club, Chembur on 9 February 2009. The MMRDA commissioned the construction of the line in two phases. The first stretch linked Wadala on the outskirts of the island city with Chembur in the north-east, and the second connected Wadala with Jacob Circle in South Mumbai. The original deadline for the project was April 2011. The project was delayed by issues involving land, removal of encroachments, delays in getting permissions from the civic body and railways. The project has missed several deadlines for completion. The following months had all been announced as deadlines for the first phase - December 2010, May 2011, November 2011, May 2012, December 2012, June 2013, August 2013, 15 September 2013, October 2013 and December 2013. Deadlines announced for the second phase were May 2011, December 2011, May 2012, December 2012, December 2013, June 2014, December 2014 and March 2015. An Right to Information (RTI) request filed by RTI activist Anil Galgali revealed that the three-year delay in commissioning the monorail was primarily due to change of alignment of its route, which led to further cost escalation of the project.
In late December 2013, the MMRDA announced that it had submitted an application to Safety Certification Authority (Engineer) for the Chembur-Wadala stretch. The Safety Certification Authority goes through the documents, and physically inspects the corridor, and commercial operations can commence only after receiving its approval. The Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) had stated it did not have the capacity to certify the monorail, as it was a different system from the railways. The electrical workings of the monorail were certified by the Electrical Inspector General. The contractor, the consortium of L&T and Scomi Engineering, appointed an independent auditor to conduct the first round of safety checks. The MMRDA appointed Singapore's SMRT Corp for a safety audit of the line. The final review was conducted by a former Commissioner of Railway Safety. R.C. Garg, retired Commissioner of Railway Safety, began a three-day inspection of the corridor on 13 January 2014. Garg, who had been in charge of the safety certification of the first line of the Delhi Metro, reviewed reports submitted by SMRT and the contractor's auditor, the stations, the car depot and alignment of the corridor. He also inspected critical aspects such as the traction, switch beams, preparedness of the staff for operation and maintenance and the customer interface in terms of the ticketing system. The final safety certificate was issued on 20 January. The safety certificate was then forwarded to the State Government, which issued a notification for commissioning the system. The notification contains norms for operation and maintenance of the system, which requires approval from the Chief Minister.
Line 1 was formally inaugurated by Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on 1 February 2014 at the Wadala Depot monorail station. After flagging off the first monorail train at 3:47 pm, Chavan along with Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, and other officials rode a bright pink monorail train, decked in flowers, along the entire route arriving at Chembur monorail station, 20 minutes later. The party then proceeded to Gandhi Maidan, 15th Road, Chembur (East), where the Chavan declared the monorail "open". The monorail was opened to the public the following day, with the first trip commencing from Wadala Depot at 7:08 am. According to the MMRDA, it had very few passengers, as the gates were opened to the public only at 7:10 am, when the train had already left. Nallasopara resident Sunil Appa Khade claimed to be the first ever commuter on the monorail. However, Abhishek Chopra claimed that though he was second in queue, he had managed to enter the monorail first. The first train from the opposite side, departed Chembur at 7:10am Services had been scheduled to operate until 3:00pm, however, station doors were closed by 2:30pm due to larger than expected ridership. Services were operated until 4:30pm, in order to provide a ride to everyone who had purchased a ticket. On opening day, 19,678 passengers travelled on the line. Sixty-six services were operated on the first day, netting a revenue of 2.2 lakh (US$3,700) through the sale of tickets and smart cards.
In the first week of operations (2–8 February 2014), the monorail transported 1,36,865 passengers in about 512 trips, earning a total revenue of 14,24,810. A total of 1,32,523 tokens and 1409 smart cards were also sold during the first week. According to the MMRDA, between 2 February and 1 March, a total of 4,58,871 commuters used the monorail, generating a total revenue 44,66,522. The monorail was closed for the first time on 17 March 2014 due to Holi.
|Phase||Line||Corridor||Length (km)||Estimated cost|
|Phase I||1||Chembur–Wadala Depot–Jacob Circle||19.54||27.16 billion (US$450 million)|
|2||Mulund–Goregaon–Borivali||30||41.7 billion (US$700 million)|
|3||Virar–Chikhaldongri||4.60||6399 million (US$110 million)|
|4||Lokhandwala–SEEPZ–Kanjurmarg||13.14||18265 million (US$310 million)|
|5||Thane – Mira-Bhayandar – Dahisar||24.25||33708 million (US$560 million)|
|Phase II||6||Kalyan–Ulhasnagar–Dombivli||26.40||36696 million (US$610 million)|
|7||Chembur–Ghatkopar–Kopar Khairane||16.72||36863 million (US$620 million)|
|8||Mahape–Shil Phata–Kalyan||21.10||29329 million (US$490 million)|
The Mumbai Monorail master plan proposed the construction of 8 lines at a cost of 202.96 billion (US$3.4 billion). In 2009, the MMRDA proposed the construction of an additional line on the Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan route. The route was proposed to have a station at every kilometer, cost 3750 crore(equivalent to 55 billion or US$920 million in 2014) and be implemented on public-private partnership basis. It was further proposed to extend the corridor from Kalyan to Badlapur in the next phase.
In September 2011, the MMRDA said that did not have an immediate plan to begin construction of a second monorail line in the region. They clarified that although it did not mean that they are not interested in carrying out the project, it may not follow the currently planned schedule. The MMRDA decided to put on hold all plans for the expansion of the monorail till the first route was commissioned. An MMRDA official stated, "There is no point in going for new routes. As long as the first route is not commissioned and the results are not out, we would not commission any new routes". MMRDA feels the need for a monorail would arise after all the proposed metro rail routes were commissioned with the monorail serving as a feeder service."
The MMRDA shelved the project to construct a monorail corridor from Thane to Kalyan and Bhiwandi in February 2014, citing low ridership estimates and availability of cheaper road transport alternatives. The development authority had planned to construct the corridor to serve as a feeder system to a metro project planned in Thane. U.P.S. Madan, Metropolitan Commissioner at the MMRDA, stated, "Having a monorail to connect to the Wadala-Kasarvadavali Metro was the original plan, but it was not found to be feasible. There was not enough ridership on the corridor and we found that a Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) would be a more effective and cheaper option there." The MMRDA had originally planned to construct the Thane monorail as a standalone project to provide connectivity to Thane railway station, but altered the plan in order to provide hybrid connectivity of the metro and monorail from Teen Haath Naka in Thane to Bhiwandi and another arm to Kalyan. The proposed corridor would have been 23.75 km long, and cost approximately 3,169 crore.
Further development of the monorail system is on hold, and questions have been raised as to whether the proposed monorail corridors will have sufficient capacity to meet Mumbai's requirements. The monorail may not be further extended by the MMRDA, as it may prove inadequate for Mumbai's population density. Foreign consultants have suggested a Metro or LRT system over a monorail for many Indian cities, e.g. Bangalore.
Line 1Main article: Line 1 (Mumbai Monorail)
Line 1 will connect Jacob Circle in South Mumbai with Chembur in eastern Mumbai. It will be built at a cost of approximately 3000 crore (US$500 million). The 20.21 km line is fully elevated. Line 1 is owned and operated by the MMRDA. The monorail serves some thickly-populated areas which are not adequately serviced by the Mumbai Suburban Railway. The first phase, built at a cost of 1100 crore (US$180 million), consists of 7 stations from Chembur to Wadala Depot, and was opened to the public on 2 February 2014. The second phase consisting of 11 stations from Wadala Depot to Jacob Circle will be built at a cost of 1900 crore (US$320 million). It is scheduled to open in March 2015.
StationsThe monorail cars were built in Malaysia by Scomi Engineering Bhd. The first car was shipped to India on 2 January 2010, marking the first time that rail cars manufactured by the company were exported overseas. Six trains currently operate in the first phase of the line. Ten more will be added in the second phase. Monorail trains are royal pink, apple green, and ice blue in colour, with streaks of black and white. Each monorail train consists of 4 coaches having a combined passenger capacity of 568. There are roughly 18 seated and 142 standing passengers at an average of seven persons per square metre per carriage (the end cars have a different capacity due to the driving position). The low number of seats was to ensure that the flow of people in and out of the coach was not hampered. Some sections of seats are reserved for pregnant women, the elderly and the differently-abled. Handrails and handgrips are installed in coaches, within easy reach of all standing passengers. A 4-coach monorail train has a total length of 44.8 metres, and each coach weighs 15 tonnes. All coaches are air-conditioned. There are 2 CCTV cameras installed in each coach. The train interiors are mostly in pastel shades with large windows offering multi-dimensional views and uncluttered seating arrangements.The stations are situated at a minimum height of around 5.5 metres, higher in some locations, and can be accessed by staircases and escalators. Each station has a total of four escalators - two from ground level to concourse, and two more from concourse to the platform. Stations do not have any public toilets, and only the monorail staff have access to washrooms. MMRDA Commissioner UPS Madan defended the absence of public toilets, stating "Nowhere in the world are there public toilets at monorail stations. The monorail journey is a short one, so the provision of public toilets was not made when the plan for stations was chalked out." All stations are equipped with baggage scanners, armed security guards at all stations entry points and CCTV cameras. Personnel of the Maharashtra State Security Corporation (MSSC) are deployed at the stations.
Depot and control centre
The 6.5-hectare Wadala car depot provides parking facilities for 21 trains with an operation control centre, a training centre, a power station, a receiving traction substation and a full-fledged administrative facility. Authorities can monitor the monorail's speed, signals, brakes, communication and safety from the control centre. The operation control centre is equipped with video feeds from CCTVs enabling round-the-clock surveillance, and train power supply and monitoring tools like SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition). Vehicle and train washing specialist Smith Bros & Webb was awarded a contract to provide Britannia Train Wash plants for the Mumbai Monorail. Smith Bros & Webb designs and manufactures its own wash equipment under the brand name of Britannia.
Safety and security
Every station on the line is equipped with Door Frame Metal Detectors (DFMDs), X-ray baggage scanners, CCTV cameras and comply with NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency) 130 norms. Around 500 armed personnel and private guards are deployed at the 7 stations of the first phase. Officers in plainclothes are present inside trains, and real-time checks are conducted to curb trouble-makers, pickpockets and molesters. All stations have armed security guards at all entry points, and personnel of the Maharashtra State Security Corporation (MSSC) are deployed at the stations. All personnel manning the station premises are equipped with hand-held detectors. A bomb detection and disposal squad and a dog squad are also deployed at all stations.
The doors of coaches will not open when the train is in motion. If a monorail driver jumps a signal or becomes immobile during travel and is unable to read signals, the system will activate an automatic train protection system. The system will first prompt the driver to apply the brakes through a radio warning, failing which, the system will automatically activate the brakes and halt the train. Train captains undergo breath analyser tests when they report to work to ascertain if they are drunk, similar to aircraft pilots. If any monorail official is found to be drunk, administrative disciplinary action is to be taken against the official, apart from which penal action will also apply. The notification published by the state government on 20 January 2014 states, "If any Monorail official is in a state of intoxication while on duty, where the improper performance of the duty is likely to endanger the safety of any passenger travelling or being on the Monorail, s/he shall be punishable with fine of Rs200."
According to studies conducted by the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) during the monorail trial run, it was found that the monorail produces between 65 – 85 decibels of noise, significantly lower than the 95 decibel noise level of a BEST Bus.
The monorail will have a top speed of 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph), an average speed of 65 kilometres per hour (40 mph) and the overall speed including dwell time at stations would be around 31 kilometres per hour (19 mph).
Capacity and frequencyTrains in contrasting colours pass in front of the line's depot
The capacity of each four-car consist is 568 commuters under a 'crush load' and 852 passengers for a six-car consist. There are roughly 18 seated and 124 standing passengers per carriage (the end cars have a different capacity due to the driving position). The system has been designed for a 3 minute headway with operation from 05:00 to 24:00. The projected peak-hour traffic is 7,400 passengers per hour per direction with 125,000 passengers per day; this is projected to rise to 8,300 and 300,000 respectively by 2013.
The MMRDA has stated that the monorail will operate in a single shift from between 7 am and 3 pm, for the first two months of operation. The MMRDA claimed that the decision was because it wanted to cautiously roll out the system, as the monorail system was nascent in the country, its staff were new to monorail operations, and uncertainty over passenger traffic. Within two months of operations, the contractor in charge – a consortium of Larsen & Toubro and Malaysia's Scomi Engineering Bhd, will operate the monorail from 7 am to 7 pm. Full-fledged operations of 19 hours, from 5am to midnight, are expected to start only by February 2015.
The MMRDA announced that mumbai monorail from wadala depot to chembur will be running for 14 hours straight. The services would run from 6am to 8pm with a frequency of 15 minutes. Extended timings will also result in increase in number of monorail services per day from 64 to 112.