The year 2021 is being welcomed with optimism worldwide following the COVID-19 pandemic-marred 2020.
Among the numerous ongoing infrastructural projects in the National Capital Region, the construction work on the ambitious Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut Rapid Regional Transit System (RRTS) Corridor is rapidly gaining pace.
The Delhi–Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System is an 82.15km long, under-construction, semi-high speed rail corridor connecting Delhi, Ghaziabad, and Meerut. It is one of the three rapid-rail corridors planned under Phase-I of Regional Rapid Transport System project of National Capital Region Transport Corporation(NCTC).
The first RRTS corridor of India is being implemented between the national capital and Meerut via Ghaziabad, Duhai and Modi Nagar. Once the RRTS becomes operational, the travel time from Delhi to Meerut will be reduced to less than an hour from the current 3-4 hours by road.
The first prototype of RRTS rolling stock will be rolled out by early 2022 and will be put into public use after extensive trial.
The civil work on the Delhi-Meerut Corridor was carried out in full swing in 2020 despite the challenges posed by pandemic. The viaduct is visible on the 17km priority section now. About one km of viaduct is ready on the priority section.
According to NCRTC, for the Delhi-Meerut Corridor, the development of the track slab factory has recently started in the Shatabdi Nagar casting yard and it is scheduled for completion within a period of 180 days. To meet the target of operationalising the 17km long section that will cover four stations- Ghaziabad, Sahibabad, Guldhar and Duhai, the factory will start production of track slabs.
Construction is also being carried out of four stations on the priority section – Sahibabad, Ghaziabad, Guldhar and Duhai. The work on the Duhai Depot commenced towards the end of 2020 and is expected to gain pace in 2021.
NCRTC has also kick-started civil construction work on the next 33km section from Duhai to Shatabdi Nagar, Meerut in 2020. In this 33km section, there will be a total of seven stations: Murad Nagar, Modi Nagar, South, Modi Nagar North, Meerut South, Partapur, Rithani & Shatabdi Nagar.
Adhering to all safety measures and precautions, the NCRTC team of officials and construction workers ensured that the progress of work was unaffected amid the pandemic. The pace of construction has instilled hope for India’s first RRTS to become operational by 2023.
In the priority section 188 pier caps, 284 piers, 425 pile caps, and 2705 piles have been completed. 1083 segments have been casted and 32 spans have been erected.
“The National Capital Region is the economic magnet of the country. RRTS will be a next-generation mobility solution that will not only reduce travel time, ease congestion, make travel safe and convenient but also herald a socio-economic transformation of NCR,” NCRTC Managing Director Vinay Kumar Singh said.
With multimodal integration at its core, RRTS stations will be seamlessly integrated with other modes of public transport thus leading to the modal shift in favour of public transport.
The construction of India’s first RRTS between Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut is going on in full swing. Despite the pandemic, NCRTC ensured that the work is being carried out swiftly and we are poised to deliver its 17 Km- long priority section as per the schedule,” Singh said.
RRTS will be using state-of-the-art systems and technologies that will mark many firsts in India. NCRTC has been bringing technologies with a clear strategy to indigenise and promote Make-in-India in the implementation of RRTS.
“We are minimizing dependence on imports in every aspect of RRTS. With over 90 percent local content, RRTS project is a testimony for Prime Minister’s vision of an Atma Nirbhar Bharat ” said Singh.
From Duhai to Modinagar, 33 piers, 107 pile caps, 972 piles and 4 segments have been casted.
NCRTC has also started construction of its first power sub-station at Murad Nagar. The 220 kV power shall be stepped down to 25 kV for the traction power supply through Overhead to the RRTS train sets on the main line from Guldhar to Meerut south section and Duhai depot. 220kV shall also be stepped down to 33kV and will be distributed to the stations from Guldhar to Meerut South.
Solar Power Panels will also be provided on the roof top of substation buildings.
The Centre has allocated Rs 2470 cr to RRTS in Union Budget 2020-21 while the Uttar Pradesh government allocated Rs 900 crores. The project also secured USD 2 billion in funding from the Asian Development Bank, New Development Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
All the major system contracts, including rolling stock, track and fastening system, signaling and telecom, head hardened rails, traction and power supply, lift and escalators, were awarded and are under implementation.
All the RRTS stations will have platform screen doors for enhanced commuter safety. The provision of Business class coaches in each RRTS train will encourage the affluent class to leave their Cars/Personal vehicles and travel through Public Transport.
Implementation of Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS Corridor is expected to shift the modal share in favour of public transport from 37% to 63% in the region, which ultimately helps in curbing pollution.
Increased share of Public Transport will reduce dependence on private vehicles and will lead to less congestion on roads resulting in reduction in accidents.
Rolling stock used for RRTS will be 100% manufactured in India in line with the Make In India policy. Subsequently, the first look of the RRTS train was unveiled on September 25, 2020.
RRTS will also mark many firsts in terms of technology which was not there earlier in India. One of them is its ballastless track. RRTS will have unique ballastless tracks suitable for high-speed design of 180 kmph. A ballastless track technology capable of supporting such high speed is not currently available in the country. RRTS tracks will be high-performance and will require low maintenance thus reducing the life-cycle cost.
RRTS trains will have a design speed of 180 kmph while average speed will be 100kmph. The distance between Delhi to Meerut will be covered in less than one hour. Trains will be available at quick frequencies of 5 to 10 minutes. The stations will be available at every 5 to 10 km.
RRTS train coaches will have transverse 2×2 seats. Optimized aisle width with grab handles and rails for a comfortable journey for standing passengers, overhead luggage rack, mobile/laptop charging sockets, adequate leg room and onboard Wi-Fi.
All RRTS corridors will be integrated with all the 7 lines of Delhi Metro, wherever interconnecting.
Once completed, the length of Delhi’s Mass transit system including DMRC and RRTS network will be 743Km which is more than the length of London Cross rail, Hong Kong MTR and Paris RER.
All the 3 corridors of Phase-1 will converge at Sarai Kale Khan and will be interoperable, enabling commuters to travel end to end from one corridor to another without having to change the train.
All the RRTS stations will have pedestrian friendly paths, lifts/escalators, sitting areas among various other commuter-centric amenities facilitating ease of access.