Mumbai: 12-car trains on Harbour line 'soon'

While CIDCO claims that 12-car trains will be operational in 2017, Central Railway says they could run as early as 2016

If claims made by the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) are to be believed then very soon, the long pending demand of Harbour line commuters — for improving the system — could become a reality.

Mumbai: 12-car trains on Harbour line 'soon'Harbour train. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

CIDCO, under its smart city project, has said that people travelling between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai will get 12-car trains by 2017. CIDCO, in its smart city brochure, has said that new 12-car trains will run by 2017. However, railway authorities say the service will start by early 2016.

“Delays in the project so far are from the railways’ side. The station extension work is complete in Navi Mumbai. Our role is to only assist financially, while railways will construct the entire infrastructure. CIDCO is lending Rs 298 crore for the project, out of which Rs 28 crore have been already released. Depending upon the financial requirement from railways, CIDCO will keep on releasing the funds for the project,” said a senior official from CIDCO.

The approximately R600 crore project would be shared in 50:50 ratio between CIDCO and Central Railway. The 10 lakh people who travel on the Harbour line have been demanding an improvement in the system. The nine-car trains have been running since years now and many of them are nearly 20 years old.

The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) is struggling to get dates from CR while they are chalking out plans that would increase the carrying capacity by more than 3 lakh.

The process
To begin with, the Harbour line that connects Mumbai with the satellite city of Navi Mumbai with 583 services everyday is run using 36 trains. Now the work for augmenting capacity by 33 percent is underway and major technical work needs to be carried out at Wadala and further south.

Earlier in November the MRVC had carried out a mega block at Wadala. “The work at Wadala is quite complicated. There are six points that need to be shifted, of which two points have been done, rest will be done shortly,” said Prabhat Ranjan, chief PRO, MRVC. ‘Point’ is what allows trains to crisscross from one track to the other. These points need to be shifted so that the platforms can be extended and signal poles be rehabilitated accordingly for running 12-car trains.

Sources said that plans are being made to hold a mega block of at least 8 hours for December 19-20 when the pending work at Wadala will be completed. Now peripheral arrangements for shifting signal poles and extending platform length are being made. And during the block every thing shall be implemented including realignment of the rail track and the overhead wires.

“We have not received a written request seeking permission for a mega block until now,” said a senior Central Railway (CR) official on condition of anonymity. Meanwhile the CR authorities are making temporary plans of improving the Harbour line by introducing Siemens local trains.

“We are working towards getting Siemens trains for the Harbour line and at least three trains could be expected,” said a CR official. These are a comparatively newer lot of trains whose procurement began in 2007. Currently they are operating BHEL and retrofitted trains on Harbour line.

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