While plans to turn Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) into a world class station remain obscure, vast majority of commuters using the station have something to cheer about.
Nearly a decade after the first subway was constructed, railway and BMC authorities are jointly planning another underground passage on the eastern side of the heritage building for commuters.
The construction of the new subway, of which plans and blueprints are yet to be finalised, is expected to ease the movement of commuters who undergo a harrowing time crisscrossing taxis and groups of outstation passengers to get to DN Road during peak hours.
The new subway is pegged at over Rs 100 crore and will be used by people going towards Fort and Churchgate where several offices are located. Transport experts claim that if this subway comes up then the chaos outside CST station would be minimised.
Presently, as rail users step out of the station, there is a prepaid taxi stand on the left facing the Central Railway’s administrative building, while on the right hand side stands the magnificent World Heritage CST grade-I building. The proposed subway would be constructed at a depth of 10 metres below the ground and will terminate at Dadabhai Naoroji Road, better known as DN Road, opposite the Sulubh Sauchalay.
“The precise point where the subway will conclude hasn’t been decided yet. But we are looking at providing two entry/exit points on either side of the road,” said a senior Central Railway (CR) official, on condition of anonymity.
The main reason behind constructing this subway, according to officials, is to ensure safe passage for people going to or coming from the Fort area. Officials added that the current situation is hazardous, as people are forced to walk on the road, as hawkers who have erected stalls without any fear of the civic body have brazenly hijacked footpaths and also use portions of the road to erect their illegal stalls.
This is risky as there is constant movement of taxis, cars and BEST buses on this stretch. Sources in the CR stated that the first rounds of meeting has taken place where officials have spoken to BMC authorities about the proposal. “We have spoken to BMC Commissioner Kunte regarding the subway, and he too has agreed to its necessity,” said Mukesh Nigam, divisional railway manager (DRM), Mumbai.
The current 2,870-sq-metre subway outside CST railway station, which is on the west side of the building, was built at a cost of Rs 15 crore, and is a boon for people going towards the BMC headquarters, Azad Maidan, and Sterling Cinema. In all there are three entry/exit points in this subway which was thrown open to the public in September 1999.