Megablocks on the Central Railway (CR) network spanning from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus upto Karjat/Kasara/Khopoli and Panvel on the Harbour line are conducted every Sunday for as long as five hours. But, for the first time in India, CR authorities will shut down a track of the Bhiwandi-Kharbao section on the Vasai-Diva-Panvel line for nearly 10 days to revitalise the rail system.
The section will be shut as authorities are planning to implement an innovative method of maintaining tracks, overhead wires, sleepers connecting two tracks, signalling system and other paraphernalia including a steel bridge on the 8 km-long Bhiwandi-Kharbao line.
Initially a one-day trial will be conducted before the monsoon, following which the authorities will decide when to conduct the 10-day block. They, however, believe that commuters won’t be affected due to this move as mostly goods and freight trains travel on the Vasai-Diva-Panvel line. Apart from this, five Diesel-Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) trains and around 10 long distance trains crisscrossing Central and Western Railways also use this line.
On May 5, the general manager of Central Railway Subodh Jain along with other authorities visited the Bhiwandi-Kharbao line for inspection. Sources added that on May 10 the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) sanctioned the authorities’ request to carry out such a block. “We will first carry out a one-day trial before the monsoon and only then we will decide when to conduct the 10-day block,” said a senior CR official on condition of anonymity.
Post-trial, a report will be prepared defining how the revitalisation plan will be carried out and if any changes need to be made in the process.
The way ahead
post-monsoon, 40 new train services will be added on CR, taking the total services to 1618.
Of these, 24 services will be run on the main line, namely on the Thane-Kasara/Karjat section, six on the Harbour line and 10 on the Thane-Panvel Trans Harbour section