The derailment affected harbour line services between CST and Kurla
The much-needed elevated Kurla-Wadala goods line is still grounded. If it existed, it could have prevented the 15-hour shutdown of the suburban railway system, due to the derailment at Guru Tegh Bahadur (GTB) Nagar station on Monday. The 5.6km long elevated rail flyover meant for goods trains, was to be built at a cost of Rs 107 crore, but has been pending despite getting a go-ahead in mid-2015, due to slums on the route.
The line was to start at Wadala, and the elevated portion was to be taken from the north of Chunabhatti station to the south of Tilak Nagar station. But prior to this, the Central Railway had prepared a Rs 5.3 crore revamp plan for GTB Nagar, that would create a new line for the goods and freight trains.
At present goods trains use the suburban system on which local trains ply. The incident where three wagons and a brake van derailed, happened on the Down slow line, where local trains head towards Panvel. Central Railway officials said that if the third line had come up by now, the derailment would have not affected the suburban system at all.
The revamp includes construction of a new platform and extention of the island platform. It will also include dismantling and re-construction of the foot over-bridges on both ends of the station. The added platform will take care of the passenger load too, but shall be mainly used for transporting goods trains.
The third line is a major part of the government's plan to augment the capacity of coal-based power plants apart from ferrying cement, grains and pulses from MbPT to Kurla, and then onto Panvel and beyond. After this third line at GTB, it will take an elevated route from Chunabhatti all the way to Tilak Nagar, and an elevated structure shall be created at Kurla. Currently, Harbour line trains wait for 15-20 minutes when goods trains with 45-60 wagons cross the lines. The elevated line is a joint project between Mumbai Port Trust, CR and MMRDA for freight trains between Wadala and Kurla.
Slums delaying it
"We have a stretch of land around 500 metres to lay the line. Rehabilitation of slums is pending on the remaining stretch," said Narendra Patil, Chief PRO, Central Railway.
The elevated line seems to be stuck due to non-rehabilitation of over 1,000 slums the MMRDA has to clear. The Harbour line ferries 10 lakh people every day. With the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) coming up, the line will connect the western DFC that will carry freight trains to Delhi.