Be ready for delays and flying rocks

If you travel on the central line of the Mumbai suburban network, chances are you may have to prepare for a few delays, scheduled changes and even rocks flying at you. The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) will be carrying out tunnel boring work as part of the new fifth and sixth line being laid between Thane and Diva stations.

Kalwa tunnel
The old tunnel and the new one being constructed near Nutan Bungalow,  near Thane creek.

According to sources in the department, train services maybe stalled for a brief period to avoid danger to passengers, as the work will involve blasting of rocks near the tunnel. The blasting will be carried out between April 1 and May 31 and the authorities plan to do it in 15-minute phases, one every morning and afternoon during that period.

Kalwa tunnel

“We will be undertaking this work between 11.35 am and 11.50 am, and 3 pm and 3.15 pm during which we will be blasting rocks near the tunnel,” said an MRVC official. The Central Railway is also making changes to the train schedule during the 60-day period. Slow and semi-fast train services from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) to Kalyan and Titwala will be diverted on the fast lines between Mulund and Diva during morning and afternoon hours.

Kalwa tunnel

Trains starting from Titwala, Kalyan, Badlapur and Ambernath to CST will also be diverted to the fast lines. Two train services will be terminated at Kurla and sentback to CST, which otherwise go all the way to Dombivli. In an attempt to reassure commuters, V Malegaonkar, chief PRO, Central Railway (CR) said, “The train services wouldn’t be affected much due to this work.”

Kalwa tunnel
Work continues at the Kalva-end of the tunnel. Officials say they will be blasting rocks near the tunnel in 15-minute phases each day from April 1 to May 31. Pics/Shrikant Khuperkar

The officials added that the blast work would be carried out at both ends of the 250-metrelong tunnel and added that this is the final leg of the tunnel-boring activity as major part of the tunnel through which tracks will pass has already been bored.

The two additional railway lines - fifth and sixth - would help cut down on congestion of rail traffic during peak hours. These will also accommodate new mail and suburban trains. After the new lines are ready for use, the current fast line that skips stations such as Kalwa and Mumbra, can be utilised by mail express and long distance trains.

Officials claim that even after the tunnelling work is over, the project of adding fifth and sixth lines will complete only after a year. Recently, the Environment ministry allowed MRVC to use 3.2 hectares reserved forestland for construction of railway lines between Thane and Diva.

250 m
The length of the tunnel

Rs 6.9 cr
Cost of drilling the tunnel

Rs 89.87 cr
Cost of constructing the 5th and 6th lines

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