Mumbai: New national timetable will lead to tweaking of local train timings
CR declares that no more local services can be accommodated in the system in its present state, adding that completion of the new Thane-Diva line and closure of crossings are the only solutions
Central Railway's (CR) latest local timetable has no space for new trains. The CR on Friday said that no more new local services can be accommodated in its timetable's existing state on the main line and the only thing that can be achieved is tweaking them to improve their speed and punctuality.
"It will be difficult to accommodate any new trains into the system in its present state. The network is completely saturated with total 1,774 suburban services in addition to 200 express and goods and freight trains. There is not an inch of breathing space. We need to keep a few slots empty for flexibility, otherwise the entire system will collapse," a senior official explained.
"An AC train that has arrived will also be accommodated by replacing an existing service and one train will probably be converted into a second-class train to compensate for the loss," he said.
Crowds trying to cross tracks at Diva station. File pic
"What could ease some of the pressure are the closure of level-crossing gates and the completion of the Thane-Diva line, where mail trains can be diverted," the officer said.
The new national rail timetable is expected to be out in a few days. Based on the time slots, railway officials will be making adjustments to the local train timetable. The goal will be to improve punctuality and speed up services.
"The new timetable will be implemented from December 15. It will improve punctuality of suburban and express trains simultaneously," chief public relations officer Shivaji Sutar said.
The new Thane-Diva corridor, sanctioned in 2008 as part of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP 2B), is being built by the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC). Its deadline has had several revisions since its first completion time of December 2015. Its cost too has escalated from R130 crore to R440 crore.
Currently, there are six railway lines between Kalyan and Diva and Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) and Thane. However, between Thane and Diva, there are only four lines, which results in congestion. The new line will enable segregation of local and outstation trains between Kurla-LTT and Kalyan-Diva, which will, in turn, improve speed and frequency of suburban trains.
As far as level-crossing gates are concerned, those at Diva and Kalwa are important ones and creating a major hurdle. The railways shut the crossing at Thakurli after much controversy and the others at Diwa, Kalwa, Titwala, need to be replaced with bridges. While railways have built their portion of the bridges, work of local corporations continues.
No. of existing suburban services on Central Railway
CR's first AC train arrives
CR's first air-conditioned train reached Igatpuri on Friday morning. It was expected to arrive in the city on Saturday morning. The train will most probably be introduced on the Thane-Vashi section.
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