How a mere 4 metre could mar 12-car train services on Harbour line

Central Railway authorities fear limited buffer space at Dockyard Road, Reay Road and Wadala station platforms could mar the running of 12-car train services between CST-Panvel

The first-ever 12-car rake will run on the CST-Panvel route tomorrow, with the first of the 14 services for the day leaving at 6 am from Vashi for Wadala. Though it will be a proud moment for Central Railway (CR) authorities, most of them will be keeping their fingers crossed, said sources.

Authorities have decided to lift the 80 kmph speed ban between Mankhurd and Panvel where distance between two stations is greater. File pic for representation
Authorities have decided to lift the 80 kmph speed ban between Mankhurd and Panvel where distance between two stations is greater. File pic for representation

It has been learnt that Dockyard Road, Reay Road and Wadala stations could play spoilsport on this historic day. Speaking to mid-day, a senior CR officer explained: the total length of a 12-car rake (buffer-to-buffer) is 258 metres. To accommodate such trains, the ideal length of a platform should be at least 265 metres. However, the length of the above-mentioned platforms is 262 meters — leaving a buffer of just four metres — thus increasing the chances of train overshooting these platforms.
“Though there is a buffer of four metres, it all depends on how motormen control the speed while approaching these stations,” the officer added.

‘Can’t expand’
Officers from Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC), which recently executed the project to extend the length of the platforms on Harbour line for accommodation of 12-car trains, said there is no further scope for extension. “At Dockyard Road, there is a small strip enough for people to board and alight. However, it will become a daunting task during peak hours. Platforms at Wadala and Reay Road can no longer be extended due to bridges and other impediments,” said an MRVC officer.

Punctuality issue
Keeping in mind the possibility of trains overshooting these platforms or taking double halts, CR officers claimed they are anticipating punctuality issues for a brief period after the inauguration of 12-car services.

Sources added that since the distance between railway stations in south Mumbai is barely a kilometre, if will take a toll on the maximum speed the 12-car train attains. However, to cover up this deficit, authorities have decided to lift the 80 kmph speed ban between Mankhurd and Panvel where distance between two stations is greater.

Transition
While the second 12-car rake is expected to become operational in the first week of May, it will take another three months for the authorities to convert the entire fleet of 36 trains from 9-car rakes to 12-car rakes. The conversion will up the carrying capacity of the trains by 33 per cent. Currently, 10 lakh people travel on Harbour line daily.

14
Number of 12-car services to be operated on CST-Panvel route on day one

258

Buffer-to-buffer length of a 12-car rake

265

Minimum length of a platform needed to accommodate 12-car rakes

262

Lengh of the platforms at Dockyard Road, Reay Road and Wadala

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