Platform work halts as rail officials spar over mega block duration

Central Railway authorities did not allow a longer mega block as several services had to be cancelled last week for the same project, but MRVC says commuters will benefit in the future

Running local trains in Mumbai is a difficult job especially on a day of mega blocks. But a proposed mega block caused such a disagreement between two rail agencies in the city, that it had to be cancelled.

Trains on Harbour line will be able to carry 33 per cent more people when the platforms are extended and there are 12-car rakes, said an MRVC official. File pic
Trains on Harbour line will be able to carry 33 per cent more people when the platforms are extended and there are 12-car rakes, said an MRVC official. File pic 

Vital work to extend platforms to accommodate 12-car trains began last Sunday at Wadala station, and was scheduled this Sunday (November 1) too. However, there were disagreements between Central Railway (CR) and Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) over the duration of the mega block for the work. Sources said the MRVC needed 7 hours to do the job, but the CR authorities only gave permission for 4 hours, as the previous week had also witnessed an extended mega block.

“The MRVC had asked for a 7-hour block but we refused permission. We decided to give a 4-hour block instead, owing to last week’s trouble on Sunday, when a technical problem made the situation worse,” said Amitabh Ojha, Divisional Railway Manager (Mumbai), CR. However, MRVC refused to accept this.

Officials said that this disagreement over time occurred after there were technical issues while carrying out yard remodelling at Wadala last Sunday. Work of shifting two crossovers, out of the total four there, was under way on the north end. That would enable them to extend platforms 3 and 4. However, due to the technical problems, the block was extended by one-and-a-half hours and 25 services had to be cancelled.

Future benefit
“Mumbaikars will feel the benefit of this work in the near future. Trains on Harbour line will be able to carry 33 per cent more people.

We intend to complete extensions of Harbour line to allow 12-car rakes by March 2016,” said Prabhat Sahai, chairman and managing director, MRVC.

Sources said that there are, in all, four crossovers, 25 signals and several points that need to be shifted and tweaked to enable the extension of the platforms for 12-car trains. Moreover, they are also improving the route relay interlocking system there — this controls the movement of trains — which hasn’t been changed for 25 years or so. Once these technical works are complete, they will then extend platforms at Wadala and gradually move on to CST.

The repercussions of the disagreements mean that a mega block will now be carried out between Nerul-Mankhurd from 11 am to 3 pm.

During this period, train services touching Vashi, Belapur and Panvel will remain cancelled. However special services will be run on CST-Mankhurd and Thane-Panvel sections.

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