Illustration/ Ravi Jadhav
To enable the probable betterment of the Central Railways (CR), over 10 lakh commuters will have to go a few steps too far in their daily commute, as CR plans to shift trains halting on platform 1 and 2 to the proposed platforms, 19 and 20.
This will be done to enable the smooth construction of the 5 and 6 lines between CST and Kurla.
Sources said the Railway Board in Delhi has given an in-principal approval for changing the alignment of the Harbour line tracks between CST and Dockyard Road for the same.
No deadline yet
But commuters needn’t hold their breath just yet. Only a proposal has gone through in this regard and before the temporary change of platform comes into effect, CR will be constructing platforms 19 and 20.
There is no deadline for the entire project yet. However, the creation of the 5 and 6 lines is being done at a cost of Rs 920 crore.
The change in alignment is being done to up the punctuality of CR’s suburban section. Presently, 49 pairs of long distance trains come to CST everyday. These trains use the same line as the fast local trains, thus eating up the punctuality of the suburban section.
CR runs 1,660 train services, of which 590 operate on the harbour line, 232 on the trans-harbour line and the remaining on the main line.
As per the proposal, platform 1 and 2 will cater to slow trains on the main line (CST-Kalyan), fast trains will use platforms 3 and 4, while two new lines shall be made available for the long distance trains coming all the way to CST. The new lines will get a diversion from Dockyard Road, until where the harbour line alignment will remain unchanged as the rail lines will be at an elevation of over 5.5 metres.
From here, the elevated rail line will shift from west to east over the Wadi Bunder rail yard and touch the P D’Mello Road. It will go parallel to Eastern Freeway and then head for Mansion Road. It will continue to be elevated from Mansion Road all the way till Carnac Bunder, after which it shall come back on the railway land crisscrossing P D’Mello Road. It’ll continue further into the CST and terminate close to platform 18.
Tracking the problems
However, while the authorities are busy putting the development on track, it will be a long walk for people getting down at CST when the Harbour line shifts next to platform 18. The exit will force people to walk on the P D’Mello Road and take a cab or bus all the way to CST, or walk through the concourse that joins the long distance platforms, through the area where goods are kept and finally on CST, opposite the Administrative Building. From there, it is another 3-minute walk till the subway on DN Road.
Right now, CST has only one foot over bridge connecting all 18 platforms. This FOB is 250-meter long and 5-meter wide and was built at a cost of around R3 crore. The officials agree that once this line shifts on the far east, there would be tremendous pressure on the FOB and so they will have to make more taxi stands and buses available outside.
Don’t forget the forts
Moreover, CR authorities have also planned a statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji along six different forts next to platform 18, at a cost of Rs 1,800 crore. The officials said that there is ample space for the new platforms to come up, despite the proposed forts. The forts that will be remade at the iconic station will be Raigad, Panhala, Sinhgad, Shivneri, Rajgad, Bhulkot and Janjira, while the statue will be lit with LED lights.
G Hazare, Panvel resident
‘This would be bad for commuters as they would start alighting at Kurla and change onto the Main line for coming to CSMT’
S Kale, Nerul resident
‘We will have to spend more on cabs just to come to CSMT station from P D’Mello Road. The railways should also ensure that there is additional connectivity or have escalators installed on FOBs.’
Long distance trains coming to CST everyday.
Local trains services run by CR everyday
Local train services on the CST-Kurla main line