Thursday, July 25, 2024

Noida International Airport: Long-Term Vision for Rapid Rail Connectivity Approved, Targeting 2041 Completion

The Uttar Pradesh government has granted approval for a rapid rail corridor to connect the Noida International Airport (NIA) with Delhi and other parts of the National Capital Region (NCR). The proposed 72.3km route will extend from the Ghaziabad rapid rail station on the Delhi-Meerut line, providing vital connectivity for the upcoming airport. However, this ambitious plan is currently slated for completion only by 2041, considerably later than the scheduled end-2024 launch of the Noida airport.

The rapid rail link not only addresses the connectivity challenges for the NIA but also offers a long-term solution for seamless transportation between the NIA and Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI).

The proposed NIA corridor will diverge from the under-construction Delhi-Meerut rapid rail line at Ghaziabad station, set to launch in 2025. The plan, developed by the NCR Transport Corporation (NCRTC), envisions 12 stations on the Ghaziabad-NIA link. Passengers traveling on this route will have access to Sarai Kale Khan in Delhi, the origin point of the Delhi-Meerut line. Additionally, the proposed Delhi-Haryana rapid rail corridor, connecting Gurgaon and featuring a station at IGI, will also originate at Sarai Kale Khan, eventually connecting both NCR airports.

Officials are considering a phased approach for building the NIA corridor, with a 37.2km stretch from Ghaziabad to Ecotech VI or Kasna targeted for completion by 2031. Subsequently, a 35.1km route from Ecotech VI to Noida airport is envisioned over the next decade. The project’s viability will be assessed through a detailed project report, with timelines subject to further clarification.

Stations along the NIA corridor, in addition to Ghaziabad, include Ghaziabad South, Greater Noida West (Sector 4), Greater Noida Sector 2, Knowledge Park V, Surajpur, Pari Chowk, Ecotech VI, Dankaur, YEIDA North (Sector 18), YEIDA Central (sectors 21, 35), and NIA GTC (ground transportation center). A proposed rapid rail station near the Aqua Line station at Pari Chowk could facilitate interchange between the two transportation modes.

A feasibility report on the connectivity plan was discussed at a meeting chaired by Chief Secretary DS Mishra, with officials from NCRTC, the civil aviation department, and local authorities in attendance. NCRTC is now tasked with preparing a detailed project report over the next two months for state government approval.

The estimated project cost is Rs 16,189 crore, with the UP government covering half, the Centre contributing 20%, and the Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway authorities handling the remaining 30% cost.

Previous proposals for linking the Noida and Delhi airports included a metro route via Pari Chowk, New Delhi railway station, and the Airport Express Line, as well as a rapid rail corridor parallel to the Noida Expressway. However, these options were deemed economically unviable or too costly. The upcoming NIA is expected to serve 6.5 million passengers annually in its first year of commercial operation in 2024-25.

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