Mumbai: WR to finally straighten tracks to reduce delays
Central Railway has been in the eye of a storm due to multiple technical glitches and regular delays, but Western Railway has not done too well on the on-time performance front either.
WR officials have been trying to reduce the delays, especially on the Borivli-Andheri stretch, by straightening curves in the tracks, but the work could not begin because the railways needed a plot owned by the BMC near Borivli station, which has finally been transferred. Though work will begin soon, it will take more than a year to complete.
mid-day report on November 11
A 144 sq m plot next to the station was delaying the work on the north end, as it belonged to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). mid-day had reported (‘This curved track is causing delays on WR’, November 11) how Western Railway was waiting for the civic body to transfer the plot that will help them straighten the track and reduce delays.
Trains coming from the Virar end had to slow down because of the curve and use only certain platforms, leading to trains running late by at least 5-7 minutes across the WR network. The BMC gave its go ahead to use the plot recently, and the work is expected to begin soon.
“We are looking at completing the work near Borivli station in three months. Then, we will start the work at Andheri,” said Hemant Kumar, general manager of WR. The plot taken from the BMC will be used by WR to reduce the degree of curve of the track leading to platforms 6 and 6A, and for modifying the signalling system.
Authorities may also connect this track to the one leading to platform 5, allowing trains coming from Virar to enter platforms 5, 6 and 6A, without causing any delay.
The work at Andheri station is said to be much more complicated. It will be done in two phases and is expected to take at least 10 months and approximately Rs 31 crore to complete. In the first phase, authorities will shift the location of six crossovers, three on either side, which are used by trains to switch tracks.
The second phase will start once WR can get the Rs 21 crore needed for it. Officials say they don’t want work to be carried out at Andheri and Borivli at the same time as it could cause further delays.
Every day, around 250 trains headed to Borivli, and vice-versa, change tracks at Andheri, making several halts before and after the station, adding to delays and the frustration of commuters. “At present, trains entering Andheri station run at 15kmph at crossovers, and 50kmph at various stretches between Andheri and Borivli stations,” said a senior WR official.
After tweaking the crossover points and straightening the tracks, officials are hopeful that the speed and punctuality of WR trains will improve. Currently, the curvature of tracks at crossovers is around 8 degrees and officials are planning to straighten it to 12 degrees.
“It will allow trains to enter the platform at 30kmph and other allied work will allow trains to run at 100kmph on the Andheri-Borivli stretch,” said another WR official. According to sources, officials have requested Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to allocate funds for the work.
Once these works are completed, WR can also increase its train services from the current number of 1,306, which it had not been able to do during the railway budget.