The Central Railway (CR) had clamped a 72-hour block on February 19 on the Harbour line to make provisions to run 12-car trains by April. But work on stabling lines to park trains on this 60-km stretch is far from over. Sources say the work could stretch on till May.
Seven spots on the CST-Panvel Harbour line — Panvel, Sanpada, Belapur, Vashi, Thane, Mahim and Wadala stations — have been chosen to stable 12-car trains, but at present, only 9-car trains can be parked there. Sources say work is still underway at these locations on the Harbour and Trans-harbour lines. “We have identified locations to park trains, but completion of work to accommodate 12-car trains is a long way to go,” says a CR official.
Sanpada can stable 20 12-car trains — the largest space available. Sources say the car shed is large enough to accommodate trains, but there is a need for more space.
A space of 65m — equivalent to the length of a 3-coach unit of a train — is needed to extend the existing tracks inside car sheds. “We are carrying out work at these stations in a big way, but then we don't know if we would be able to complete work by the time we are ready with the extended platforms, realignment of rail lines and signals,” said another CR official.
Stabling lines are needed to park 46 trains meant to run on both Harbour and Trans-harbour sections. Unless these parking lots are made available, the rakes will have to be left on the platforms, which could pose problems when the first and the last trains run.
Officials say at Panvel, three lines are planned for 12-car trains and two lines of 9-car trains will be extended. Four lines have been planned at Belapur (where work on the bridge is underway), three at Mahim, two at Thane and one at Wadala.
CR officials admit that limited space is posing a difficulty to the extension of the lines. At present, muck, ballast, signals and even slum settlements in a few areas are being cleared.