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Just 2,650 sq ft stands in the way of better Harbour line services

A new Rs 107-crore corridor, which will end the need for goods trains using the Harbour line and delaying local trains, is stuck because of a few plots of land totalling a mere 2,650 sq ft, the size of a 4BHK flat

The Harbour line, which caters to 10 lakh passengers every day, was initially used to ferry freight from Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT). And, even today, the practice of long goods trains using the tracks continues, delaying local train services.

The goods trains delay services by using the tracks meant for local trains. File picThe goods trains delay services by using the tracks meant for local trains. File pic

While one proposed line the Wadala-Kurla corridor can improve this situation, a mere 250 sqm (2,650 sq ft) of land and a lot of red tape are standing in the way. Sources in the Central Railway said that they need that amount of land, in different locations, from the MbPT to start the new Rs 107-crore route.

The corridor would facilitate the movement of goods trains from Wadala to Kurla on a separate section so that they do not need to use the CST-Panvel Harbour line. Presently the goods trains which are often 50 coaches long take the Harbour route to Wadala, keeping the line meant for local trains busy.

The new route will also ensure that commuters don’t have coal ash flying in their faces, which happens often at stations and in local trains on the Harbour line when a coal-laden train passes by. “This route will help us separate the goods train operation completely and improve the Harbour line,” said a senior CR official.

The corridor is likely to be partly elevated, for which work will need to be carried out at some stations between Wadala and Kurla, including Guru Tegh Bahadur Nagar, which will undergo a major change at a cost of around Rs 6 crore.

Red tape
Sources said that letters are currently being exchanged between CR and MbPT for the land to be handed over. They said the main problem is that there is no provision for the MbPT to hand over land, and it can only lease land out.

“We are approaching the Ministry of Shipping to make special amendments for these plots of land,” said a CR official. The new line will also help in the movement of freight and increase the number of goods trains plying on the route every day, which currently stands at only 15 or so.

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