Monorail to add colour to Mumbai skyline

Rakes painted pink, green and blue to reflect spirit of the city

The next time you are asked how Mumbaikars are, point to the sky.

By early next year, parts of skyline of your city will be full of colourful blurs. The pink, green and blue blurs — speeding rakes of monorail inspired by the vibrant Mumbaikar — will zigzag between skyscrapers and grow as glass offices make reflections.

Monorail is one of first transport infrastructure projects in the country that lays particular emphasis on aesthetics.

That a woman is in-charge cannot be coincidence.

"This is the first monorail not only in the city, but in the country. So, we wanted it to be unique aesthetically as well.

"We also looked at how to improve aesthetics of the two most visible elements of the project while planning civil works," said Ashwini Bhide, MMRDA additional metropolitan commissioner who heads the monorail team.

"We wanted a lot of colours to represent the vibrant culture and cosmopolitan mix of Mumbai and create a fresh, youthful look. We wanted to break the visual monotony of a concretised city," she said.

The colourful rakes of Mumbai Monorail, now very close to completion, will have their first full run during a trial this month.

The first, 8.3-km Chembur-Wadala, phase of the 20-km monorail corridor from Chembur to Jacob Circle is likely to be commissioned early next year.

In India, trains have historically been ochre or red in colour, basically to disguise dirt, Bhide said.

"Even internationally, since trains are a work of steel they are mostly grey or white.

At some places, rakes are in a combination of red and white or blue and white. We were clear, we wanted to break away," she said.

MMRDA engaged services of National School of Design, Ahmedabad, students to make monorail appear unique. It selected three colours for the 15 rakes it planned to procure from Malaysia's Scomi Engineering, which is implementing the project with Larsen & Toubro.

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