Sources in Central Railway claim authorities upbeat about executing the long dead Churchgate-CST link; line will now terminate at Azad Maidan
Resurrection seems to be the order of the day with the Indian Railways.
Days after Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu rekindled hopes for the Churchgate-Virar and CST-Panvel elevated corridors in his Budget speech, another project seems to be following suit. It has been learnt that officials are reconsidering execution of the proposed rail link between Churchgate-CST. The project was first proposed in 2009 by the then railways minister Mamata Banerjee. This time, however, the proposed link will terminate at Azad Maidan instead of Churchgate.
Sources from Central Railway (CR) claimed that officials are studying the possibility of extending the suburban lines till Azad Maidan, opposite the BMC building. Based on the ring road method, the same rail line will go back to CST from Azad Maidan. Sources added that the Rs 1,500 crore underground extension will decongest the existing lines.
“The two slow lines can be rerouted on this extension. Instead of terminating at CST, it will circumvent Azad Maidan and head towards Masjid Bunder station,” said a CR official, adding that the existing platforms at CST could then be used for operating Harbour line, fast line and the fifth and the sixth lines and diverting long-distance trains.
Sources said the tracks would start going underground after Sandhurst Road station. “It will be at a gradient 1:50. This will ensure that descend isn’t too steep for the trains. The tracks will be installed at a depth of 20 meters underground,” said SK Sood, general manager, CR. The Sandhurst Road station has an elevation of 1:37 gradient, which according to railway officials is steep.
CR authorities ensured that the proposed line would be built at a safe distance from the CST building premises so that the construction work doesn’t damage the building.
Terming it economically unfeasible, the Railway Board shot down the Churchgate-CST line in 2011. As per the initial proposal, this line was supposed to merge with the proposed R24,000 crore Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro-3 line at Azad Maidan. Sources claim despite alteration of the original project, merger is possible at Azad Maidan because the Metro-3 is partially underground and people can switch lines using escalators.