DC-AC conversion: Power conversion over, CR set to go after old bridges

Central Railway is set to begin work on demolishing two of the oldest railway over-bridges (ROBs) in the city Hancock bridge and Carnac Bunder in a bid to increase the gap between the overhead wires and bridges

After converting the power system on their Main line to 25,000 volts, Central Railway (CR) is now preparing to demolish two of the oldest bridges in the city in a bid to widen the gap between the overhead power lines and the bridges above.

The Hancock
The Hancock

mid-day has reported on many occasions in the past that, with the power system switched from 1,500 volts to 25,000 volts, the buffer space between the overhead cables and the underside of bridges was proving too close for trains to be driven at high speed.

Carnac Bunder bridges are two of the oldest overpasses in the city. File pics
Carnac Bunder bridges are two of the oldest overpasses in the city. File pics

Due to this, they have imposed a speed limit of 15 kmph at the Hancock bridge and of 30 kmph at the viaduct bridge near Sandhurst Road. At the seven other spots between CST and Thane, the speed limit has been revised to 50 kmph.

Now the authorities are preparing to demolish two of the oldest bridges in the city on this route Hancock bridge and the one at Carnac Bunder. Sources in CR said they have begun finalising the details of the procedure and that demolition could begin post-monsoon or even before, if need be.

“We will begin the demolition of the two ROBs (Hancock and Carnac Bunder) soon. We had also inspected them earlier,” said a senior CR official, on condition of anonymity. During this inspection, officials said they found water pipelines and other cables going along these ROBs.

These need to be shifted first, after which the demolition can begin. Senior railway officials said that since these bridges are very old, the chances of the work starting during the monsoon are bleak. Planning and paperwork on this initiative began a year ago.

Rebuilding
The onus of reconstructing these crucial connectors is on the BMC, whom the railway authorities have asked to build taller bridges. The new bridges will be 5.3 m tall and 15 m longer to accommodate the fifth and sixth lines on this route. The cost of reconstruction is estimated to be R30 crore.

However, the civic body has claimed this requirement of greater height poses a problem; BMC officials claimed this would lead to waterlogging in the buildings nearby, as the raised bridges would cause more accumulation of water.

Senior railway officials will meet Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta to discuss the issue of demolishing these bridges. Eventually, the Traffic police will also be involved in the process, as alternate routes need to be created when the structures are razed.

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