Elevated auto deck: Glide in and out of Andheri station

Western Railway mulls Rs 6 crore 'auto deck' connecting straight to foot overbridges at Andheri, so that commuters can flag a rickshaw straight after alighting from trains, avoiding the traffic below altogether; Harbour line to be extended

Milling crowds, drilling machines, honking automobiles, effluent-rich air, congestion and chaos: Andheri is as much a pedestrian's nightmare as a motorist's bugbear. However, there could be respite for the 3 lakh daily train commuters alighting at the suburban locale known for overflowing railway platforms and daunting traffic snarls, rendered even more insufferable with the ongoing work on the city's first Metro rail on the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) corridor.

Auto freeway: The elevated auto deck would be built at the height of
the widest foot overbridge, so that commuters can avoid the traffic at
ground level. Pic/ Rane Ashish 

The Western Railway (WR) has proposed an elevated deck on Andheri (E) meant only for auto rickshaws, as part of the Adarsh (ideal) station project announced in the railway budget in 2009. On Sunday, the new General Manager of WR, Mahesh Kumar, inspected Andheri station to take stock of the project.

Auto deck
As per the detailed plan made by the railway authorities, the Rs 6 crore auto deck will begin from the SoBo-end of the road at Andheri (E), and run parallel to the tracks. The deck would be constructed in such a way that the elevated ramp will be at the height of the widest existing railway foot overbridge (FOB), thus allowing people to alight from trains, walk straight on the FOB and get down at different platforms.

"People can easily get down or board a rickshaw on this deck, thus avoiding the chaos down below," said a senior WR official on condition of anonymity.

The elevated road will then bifurcate -- while one arm would allow the deck to take a U-turn on the same stretch, the other will veer a right onto the road that leads down to Chakala.

Officials expect the rickshaws to roll in and out of this auto deck with ease, and without traffic hassles.

Further, this deck will also be connected with a skywalk that connects both the VAG Metro station at Andheri and the suburban railway station. "We are looking at possibilities wherein the traffic below would get transferred above and the demand for other FOBs along the sides would go down," said another WR official.

Harbour line extension
The WR GM also discussed erecting a two-storey building at Andheri (W) station, where the Harbour line will be extended till Goregaon

Tracks on platforms six and seven, reserved for the Harbour line, will be extended further as part of the Rs 100 crore project. The WR has already identified the structures that would need to be demolished for the two extended lines. They include a stone barrack built around 1919 by the British, platform one of the station, dilapidated water tank, station master office, old railway sheds and parking stand.

Once these structures are demolished, a two-storey building with 24 ticket counters and other offices will be built on pillars.

The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) has already cleared several portions of land till Goregaon for laying the new tracks. The extension is likely to be completed by 2014.

Ideal suburbia
>> Adarsh station will depict the local ethos where architecture of the station may replicate a local landmark 
>> It will have basic facilities such as toilets, drinking water, waiting rooms and catering services, dormitories for women passengers and better signs
>> Nearly 35 railway stations on the Mumbai suburban section will be renovated under the scheme 
>> Some of the Adarsh-designate stations are Andheri, Bandra, Churchgate, Dadar, Ghatkopar, Kurla, Marine Lines, Mulund, Sanpada, Sewri, Tilak, Vashi and Virar

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