Western Railway works to bring life on track
635 people died after falling off trains till October, 2015. WR begins work on tracks as part of redoing the Andheri stretch and easing the load
The joke on Indian Standard Time is relevant in Mumbai, train delays adding real-time excuses. But when trains run late and commuting in crowded trains becomes a risk to life, the joke is far from funny.
This year, 635 people have died after falling from trains, and this figure is only till October. And, in November, Dombivili-based Bhavesh Nakate’s fatal fall, which was recorded by a fellow commuter, went viral highlighting the need for better safety on tracks.
Since a month, the Western Railway (WR) had started minor work to improve portion of the tracks between Jogeshwari and Vile Parle, as part of remodelling of Andheri tracks. But now, with safety clearances from the Railway Board and sanction of Rs 10 crore from the Rs 31-crore project, work on phase one is on in full swing and scheduled to complete by March.
The remodelling will allow trains to move faster and smoother. “The existing tracks will be replaced and the turning curve alignment will be eased from eight degrees to 12 degrees. Four such points before and after Andheri station will be changed by March,” said Shailendra Kumar, Divisional Railway Manager (Mumbai), WR, adding that these points intersect two rail lines using crossovers and help the trains to switch tracks.
Currently, north-bound and south-bound trains enter Andheri at a speed of 50 kmph while traverse on crossovers at 15 kmph. But once the work is finished, trains to Virar will run at 100 kmph and at 30kmph on crossovers. Phase one will concentrate on Borivli and Virar-bound trains to help ease evening peak hours.
However, it is not an easy task at hand. An official, on condition of anonymity, said it is a challenging job due to the multiple crossovers at Andheri and near Vile Parle.
“To improve the speed of south-bound trains, the WR need to carry out work between Andheri and Jogeshwari.” “Until the road over bridge near the proposed Oshiwara station doesn't get complete and level crossing closed, it will be difficult to shift the remaining three points, as tracks alignment is connected to it,” said another WR official.