With Central Railway (CR) authorities deciding to develop Parel station as a mini-terminus for suburban trains, rail passenger associations want authorities to first address commuter woes before embarking on grandiose plans. They have stated that CR must halt more fast trains at the station, as Parel has emerged as a commercial hub in recent years.
The associations asserted that they have received several grievances from commuters stating that there is a need for more fast trains to halt at Parel station. Presently, only a couple of fast trains stop at Parel station in the evening and that too to assist thousands of railway employees who work at the nearby CR workshop.
At a meeting held yesterday between Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh and CR authorities, members while discussing future plans for Parel station claimed that CR authorities are underutilising platform three and four. “We want CR to halt at least four fast trains during morning and evening peak hours, as several commuters will benefit,” said Madhu Kotian, member, Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee (ZRUCC) who headed the meeting.
“Commuters are compelled to get down at Dadar and have to either take a slow train or travel in a taxi to Parel. Even if they run 10-12 fast train services during the day it will surely help,” said Mandar Vaze, a resident of Parel. CR authorities, however, claim that it will be difficult for them tweak the schedule of fast trains. “The schedule of train services on the fast line will get disturbed if we halt trains at Parel station,” said Rahul Jain, DRM (Mumbai), CR. Officials claim that 90 seconds will be lost if a fast train halts at Parel. Apart from this CR authorities stated that there isn’t enough number of staff available to man the public address system.
Plans for the future
As per the proposed plan, work on the Parel terminus is likely to start from December and is expected to be complete within three years. An additional platform will be constructed and the terminus will accommodate a fifth and sixth line, which will be a part of the Kurla-CST corridor. The terminus will be erected at a cost of around Rs 800 crore and the additional platform will be built in-between Elphinstone Road on Western Railway and Parel station on Central Railway. CR will complete work on the second foot over bridge (FOB) by the year-end, and in the meantime look to post more RPF personnel to help in dispersing commuters.