Mumbaikars beware! Central Railway is set to mega block the weekend

From Friday, Central Railway will start implementing its 72-hour block from CST to begin extending platforms for their 12-car trains

If you plan on boarding a late night train from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) during the weekend, then kindly make other travel arrangements because the Central Railway (CR) authorities will be carrying out their massive 72-hour mega block, whose first leg will begin on February 19 at 1.30 am.

Also Read: Harbour Line platform extension: Be prepared for CR's longest ever mega block of 72 hours

During this period, the authorities would extend the length of the platform and make other changes. File pic for representationDuring this period, the authorities would extend the length of the platform and make other changes. File pic for representation

Starting Friday night, CR will shut train services that begin from platform number 2 at CST for the next 72 hours. This means that the Harbour line and part of the main line will remain affected, since one entire platform wouldn’t be available for trains. “On February 19, we will run 445 services instead of 590 services, which operate otherwise. These train services are the ones that arrive on platform 2 of CST,” said a CR official.

Working on crossovers
During this period, the authorities would extend the length of the platform, make changes in the turnouts of crossovers – used by trains to switch tracks –, change the alignment of overhead wires and tracks and then finally lay a path for carrying out work on the platforms to operate 12-car trains. There are two crossovers (four turnouts in total) between platform 1 and 2 of CST. Trains use these while arriving and departing from the platforms.

Read Story: Maintenance woes hit CR services 3 out of 5 days this month

Sources said that the CR authorities have changed the physical location of three turnouts until now, but the last one can only be done during the block and hence, platform 2 will be shut. The second phase will begin on February 20. CR will then implement a bigger block when platforms 1 and 2 will be shut for train services between CST and Wadala. On February 19, the train services are expected to be delayed by 3-5 minutes. During this time, trains will operate between Panvel/ Andheri and Wadala/Kurla after which people can use the Main line.

Officials claimed the biggest worry during the re-modelling of the CST yard was the issue of route relay interlocking and the signalling system, which controls the running of trains. For the next 72 hours, nearly 400 workers and 50 engineers will carry out this mega block so as to ensure that the extended platforms shall allow trains to be augmented from 9-car to 12-car.

Amitabh Ojha, Divisional Railway Manager (Mumbai), CR said, “Once we complete this 72-hour block, we will be able to begin work on implementing the 12-car trains on Harbour line”.

However, this does not mean that 12-car trains will start operating on CR once the 72-hour block is complete. This block will give CR authorities the scope to level platforms, fit roofs and carry out other works that would take at least 30-35 days, not just at CST but right up to Wadala and wherever work is pending. At present, major repairs need to be done at CST, Dockyard Road and Wadala stations.

Upgrading power
The authorities are also simultaneously working on upgrading power from 1500-volt DC to 25000-volt AC, which will take impetus after the 72-hour block. The deadline for this upgrade is March 31 and the CR needs 12 additional rakes.

The 10-lakh commuters on Harbour line will be able to avail services of the 12-car trains only by the end of April, by when they will procure 144 12-car coaches to add to their existing fleet. This will allow a 33 per cent increase in the capacity on Harbour line. Currently, CR has a fleet of 41 9-car rakes on Harbour line, though they operate 36 rakes daily on CST-Panvel/Andheri route.

Breaking down the block

Friday:
>> Services will be slashed by 18 per cent from Panvel to CST and Andheri. 
>> Trains will be delayed by 3-5 minutes or even more.

Saturday and Sunday:
>> From Panvel – Services will run only up to Wadala 
>> From CST – No services will be available to Panvel, Belapur and Vashi 
>> From Bandra – Services will run only up to Wadala 
>> To Andheri/Bandra – Instead of CST, services will run from Wadala to Andheri/Bandra

Trains will not be available at:
>> Masjid, Sandhurst, Dockyard Road, Reay Road, Cotton Green and Sewri stations.

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