Matheran is among favourite tourist destinations and attracts tourists from Mumbai and Pune. However, the commutation to this sought after hill station with picturesque view is difficult owing to limited connectivity due to the steep hills. Currently, a narrow-gauge railway line connecting Neral and Matheran on the Central Railway`s Mumba-Pune route is 20km long and takes about two hours. Roadway stretches only up to a point in Matheran from where the commuters are forced to walk or ride horse for three kilometer. For the safety and convenience of the tourists, it was inevitable to find a long-term solution.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has proposed a modern way of reaching Matheran. MMRDA after a feasibility study found appropriate to build funicular railway which would consume less traveling time. The funicular railway will be operated on an electricity-powered cable path on rails. It is proposed to construct a 1.4 km Funicular Railway between Dodhani and Matheran. Dodhani is accessible by road from Panvel. Since the Funicular Railway climbs very steep gradients it would help tourists reach Matheran within only ten to fifteen minutes. Each passenger coach will have a capacity of carrying 60 commuters. The Funicular railway system can also be used for carrying goods during off-peak hours and off-tourist season. The feasibility study of this railway line has been done by M/s. RITES. The cost of the project, including the approach road etc needed to run the Funicular Railway, would be around Rs.100 crore.
The Funicular Railway at Matheran will cut down the travel time will serve a tourist attraction and will also help for overall development of the area. Panvel is located between Mumbai and Pune, the funicular railway would serve the tourists from both these cities.