Mumbai: Soon Harbour trains to run every two-and-a-half minutes

Dec 05, 2017, 10:46 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar

If all goes as per plan, commuters won't have to wait longer than 2-2.5 minutes to board a train

In the near future, you'll be able to board a Harbour train in less time than it takes to cook instant noodles. Within three years, the much-neglected Harbour line will be transformed into a two-minute railway route, with trains every two to two-and-half minutes, instead of the six-minute frequency at present. During a recent review, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal revived the proposal for a Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling system, which will help bring reduce the time gap between services.

With more frequent services, hopefully, crowds like this will become a thing of the past
With more frequent services, hopefully, crowds like this will become a thing of the past

A divisional official said the proposal is already on its way to the Railway Board for approval. Once approvals are in place, the project will move ahead. Railway officials said the project could take about three years for implementation on ground. With six minutes between trains, the Harbour line has the worst frequency out of all the railway lines in the city. In comparison, Western Railway trains arrive every three to four minutes, while the Central Railway's main line has a four-minute gap. Goyal discussed the revival of CBTC and the elevated suburban railway corridors during his visit to the city last month. He asked the railways to submit a comprehensive plan, in co-ordination with the Metro authorities, so that transport projects complement each other and there is no duplication of work.

With the CBTC system in place, the train driver's cabin will have signalling indicators based on interactions between the train and track. With this, one can determine the exact position of a train moving ahead, which can help to run back-to-back trains safely and at a higher frequency. The system gives real-time information on the maximum speed the train can run at safely, and allows trains to follow close behind each other, without the risk of collision.

At present, Mumbai's suburban railways use a block signalling system, wherein trains move from block to block, keeping considerable distance between two trains. With cab signalling, the railways will be able to add hundreds of new services. The CBTC project is initially being considered for the Harbour line, as only one kind of train runs on this corridor. On the other hand, on WR and CR's main line, locals share the tracks with long-distance services and goods trains.

3 No. of years in which CBTC system will be up

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