The decision is part of the project to convert all rakes on the Harbour line into 12-car trains, as it will require changes in the stabling (parking) system of trains as well
The 10 lakh commuters on the Harbour line have a reason to smile, for they will get 33 per cent more space in trains in the months to come, when all rakes on the line will have 12 coaches.
But for the Central Railway, all this will come at a cost. Not only will there be changes in the alignment of the Harbour line, especially at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), which will entail shifting of existing tracks, but the only stabling (parking) line for trains will also have to be shifted.
Over the past few months, authorities have been carrying out work to extend the platforms at all stations on the Harbour line from CST to Mankhurd. All platforms on most stations along the line have been extended for the 12-car trains, except for the ones at Wadala Road, Reay Road and Dockyard Road stations.
There is significant remodelling of tracks involved at Wadala Road, land has to be acquired at Reay Road and a hillside has to be levelled at Dockyard Road. At the Navi Mumbai end, the stations already have the capacity to manage 12-car trains.
The crucial work will be carried out in the next couple of months. The first action will be shifting of the parking line at CST. Presently there is only one stabling line there. “It will be shifted to Wadala from CST,” said Mukesh Nigam, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Mumbai, Central Railway.
The importance of this stabling line cannot be undermined, say CR officials. Normally in case of technical failure in trains while in service, the authorities can easily put a spare train which is on the CST stabling line, into service from the starting point.
“Now after this line is shifted to Wadala, it will take us more time to divert such emergency trains,” said a CR official. Wadala station is an important junction for commuters who take trains going towards Panvel and Andheri on the Harbour line and even Kurla, for traveling further on the main line.
At Wadala there are rail lines coming from the Bombay Port Trust that go towards Kurla, and they are used by goods trains. The platform at Wadala is expected to be extended by December this year, after which the authorities will proceed with work towards CST station, by January.
At CST, there will be a shift in the platforms towards the east side. mid-day on December 22, 2013, had reported about this plan in detail in ‘Iconic CST railway track to be shut down in December 2014’. The authorities will shut down entry/exit of trains to CST on the Harbour line for three days during this period.
The extensions for 12-car trains on Harbour line are being carried out at a cost of around R750 crore, and they include acquiring more coaches for the same. Presently, 36 trains make 583 trips everyday on the CST-Panvel-Andheri Harbour line.