Authorities are pushing for the closure, at least in peak hours, of three level crossings due to which train schedules go haywire; Thane Traffic cops, however, assert this will cause huge traffic jams on the road
Close on the heels of the recent violence seen in Diva, the Central Railway (CR) authorities want the level crossings on the Thane-Kalyan stretch closed in order to reduce delays in train schedules.
The level crossings at Diva (seen here), Thakurli, and Kalwa open over 40 times a day, causing a delay of 10 minutes every time, estimate Central Railway officials. File pic
This, however, is set to throw traffic out of gear, since these gates are the only way to travel between east and west of the suburbs. The three level crossings one each at Thakurli, Diva and Kalwa open over 40 times a day, due to which trains running on the Main line of Central Railway run late, said a CR official on condition of anonymity.
Whenever a level crossing opens it eats into 10 minutes of the train’s running time each gate is opened for at least three minutes each time, for vehicles to cross from east to west and vice versa. There is another level crossing at Chunabhatti on the Harbour line, and the four gates delay 105 services on CR.
CR officials said these level crossings should be shut at least during morning and evening peak hours - between 8 am and 11am, and from 6 pm to 9 pm respectively. However the Thane Traffic police are aghast at this possibility. “There is no alternative route if these level crossings are closed. Even if they are shut during peak hours, traffic will pile up for kilometres together, and this will further anger the crowds,” said an officer from Thane Traffic police.
To make matters worse, construction of road over bridges (ROBs) at Kalwa and Thakurli is proceeding at snail’s pace. Indian Railways recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Road Transport for construction of ROBs and road under bridges.
Key meeting today
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and senior railway board officials, led by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, will meet today to discuss railway-state government disputes on various aspects. One of the foremost issues on the agenda is the closure, or at least temporary shutdown, of level crossings during peak hours.
Apart from this, they will also discuss land acquisition for the upcoming Metro lines, construction of ROBs on the proposed Churchgate-Virar and CST-Panvel elevated fast corridors, and the much-anticipated Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed corridor.