The redevelopment of the ring railway network in Delhi, as part of the integrated transport network that caters to 21 stations across the Ring Road encircling most parts of outer Delhi, has been further delayed as the Ministry of Railways has again called for a detailed feasibility study of the project.
A similar study was ordered in 2016. Suresh Prabhu, the then Railway Minister, had talked about the revival of the dying ring railway network in his budget speech in Parliament, after which a study was ordered to be conducted, but nothing much moved ahead. Now, once again, Piyush Goyal, the present Railway Minister, has taken up the issue of redeveloping the same network.
The Ministry plans to make the ring railway a part of the integrated transport network that will be coupled with Delhi Metro interchanges for better connectivity across its 35 km route encircling almost entire Delhi along the Ring Road.
The work for the redevelopment will be carried out by the Northern Region Railway Division of the Ministry of Railways. R.N. Singh, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Delhi, told The Sunday Guardian, “The development of the ring railway system in Delhi will complement the existing suburban transport network in the capital. The ring railway has immense opportunity for development and would be beneficial to both the Railways and the common public. The Railways have already commissioned a study on the entire project and the report is likely to come in by the next five to six months. On the basis of that, we will also look towards leveraging the commercial aspect of this project as well.”
The ring railway line starts from the Hazrat Nizamuddin station and ends a full circle at the same station after traversing a distance of 35 km with halts at 21 stations along the route. The Railways currently operates five trains in the clockwise direction and an equal number of trains in the anti-clockwise direction from the Hazrat Nizamuddin station in south Delhi.
The Ministry and the Delhi Division of the Indian Railways plan to develop this entire network on the model of the Delhi Metro, along with developing certain stations and their adjoining areas for commercial activity, especially near stations near large business centres, like Sarojini Nagar, Patel Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, Kishan Ganj and Naraina Vihar.
A spokesperson of the Delhi Metro told this newspaper, “If the ring railway can be developed to its potential, it will take away much load from Delhi roads.
“However, the task ahead is huge, but if the Railways need any help from the DMRC, we will be ready to help them for better connectivity in the city,” the spokesperson added.
However, the road ahead for the Railways is a long one, as encroachments along most parts of the entire rail network make it unsafe, as well as difficult, for trains to run at high speed.
Even the approach road to the stations is heavily encroached upon and some stations along the network do not even have a proper connectivity to the main areas of the city.