Direct train from Mumbai Central to Kerala soon
Rail Budget allocates funds to check if it is possible to connect Western Railway to the Konkan belt
WR commuters have no direct access to Konkan Railway
The 30 lakh-odd commuters on Western Railway (WR), who until now were forced to take a train from CSMT, Dadar, Kurla or Panvel to travel to the Konkan region, may finally be able to save themselves the trouble of perilous travel. The detailed Railway Budget presented on Tuesday has allocated funds for a survey to check the feasibility of connecting WR to the Konkan Railway. If the project gets a green signal, Konkan Railway trains will halt at key WR stations in the next five years.
Ravinder Bhakar, chief public relations officer, WR
Currently, there is no direct access from WR line to Konkan Railway, south India or the Pune line. Trains have to be taken to Vasai and reversed from there to continue the journey. As of today, only holiday specials and limited trains use the WR route. Commuters along the WR line are forced to travel all the way to CSMT, Kurla or Panvel or take limited trains at Vasai.
A senior WR official confirmed that funds have been allocated to WR to survey a small 7 km-stretch at Naigaon-Juchandra between the WR's mainline and the Vasai-Diva line to solve the problem. Once the Dedicated Freight Corridor comes up and more paths are created after the completion of additional lines in the Mumbai suburban area, it would be possible to start trains originating from Mumbai Central to Konkan Railway and down south.
"We have been fighting for this project since so long. If one has to catch any Konkan Railway train to stations like Pune, passengers from Virar, Vasai, Borivli and Bandra have to come down to Dadar or CSMT as there is no direct connectivity to these trains,'' said Jagdish B Rane, a commuter activist, who chalked out an initial survey.
Sources said that there would be no problem related to land acquisition or any re-alignments to complete this project quickly, as the land there is currently vacant. Kunal Birwadkar, who had sent a formal proposal to the railway ministry last year, said, "This is a real dream come true and this small connector will change the pattern of WR commuters. It will prove to be a boon for all those travelling south from Western Railway."
When contacted, Ravinder Bhakar, chief PRO, WR, welcomed the plan for the survey. "It will give us a sense of the rail alignment and the work that needs to be taken up," he said.
7KM Proposed stretch on the mainline to be surveyed
Rs8.7L Amount that has been allocated for the survey