There is good news for Mumbaikars staying along the Harbour line and in the satellite town of Navi Mumbai. In a decision that promises to ease railway passenger’s woes, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has cleared a proposal for running 12-car Harbour line trains on the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)-Panvel route. This would mean that the 10 lakh commuters presently travelling in 9-car trains on this 60-km route will have 33 per cent more room in every train.
Sources in the railways said that the proposal for clearance was moved on November 27, and was cleared by Chavan on the same day. “The proposal has been cleared by the CM,” confirmed Manukumar Srivastava, principal secretary, Urban Development department. The department was scrutinizing this Rs 714 crore project for long before it was finally submitted to the CM’s office.
As per the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation’s (MRVC) proposal, ‘a 50:50 joint venture of the state government and railways’ will begin work on extending platforms from CST till Mankhurd, make necessary technical arrangements and procure 153 coaches for converting 9-car trains to 12-car.
Officials at MRVC had been blaming the state government for extending the completion deadline from June 2014 to December 2014. This approval from the Chavan was important, as it will bring clarity on the funding of this project. “The approval from the CM means that the state government is keen on the project and is ready to fund it. We are now hopeful of completing the work by December 2014,” said a senior railway official. Now the state government will fund 50 percent of this Rs 714 crore project, while the remaining half will be shared by the railways.
MRVC officials claim that they have also finalized tenders for extension of platforms but were waiting for word from the state government. Of the 25 railway stations on the CST-Panvel Harbour line, platforms will have to be extended at 15 stations between CST and Mankhurd to accommodate 12-car trains. Even the platforms between Wadala and Andheri will be extended.
The project of extending all Harbour line platforms between Mankhurd and CST is being implemented by the MRVC in two phases. While all stations between Mankhurd and Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar will be finished first, the more difficult and elevated stations between Wadala and CST will be taken up subsequently. The CR has also proposed to run 10-car trains. Currently, the CR operates 580 services on Harbour.