Commuters can shelve their hopes of having direct local trains from Churchgate to Dahanu Road and Virar to Dahanu Road.
The Western Railways (WR) has informed the Bombay high court that it will not be feasible to start direct train services from Churchgate to Dahanu Road and Virar to Dahanu Road due to non-availability of sources like rakes and trains.
An affidavit was filed by PI Kurian, deputy chief operations manager of WR, in the high court on Wednesday, saying: "With present resources like availability of rakes and EMUs (trains), running direct services between Churchgate and Dahanu Road is not possible."
The affidavit adds: "Western Railways intends to run EMU services between Churchgate and Dahanu Road but it can be done only when rakes are available. At present, WR had 76 EMU rakes. There is a compelling need to increase services in Mumbai also."
The WR has already provided ten shuttle services between Virar and Dahanu Road to Vapi and Surat. "The tracks between Virar and Dahanu Road are at present being utilised above their capacity. Introduction of new services may result in curtailment of time required for maintenance, which may lead to accidents," the affidavit states.
The affidavit was in reply to a public interest litigation filed by a municipal corporator of the Vasai and Virar Municipal Corporation, Rajkumar Chorge, seeking that the railways be directed to start direct local trains from Churchgate to Dahanu Road. At present direct trains ply only till Virar.
The PIL contends that the railways have been delaying the project for several years. There are shuttle services from Virar to Dahanu Road, but they are so few that occasionally, people have to wait for over six hours, contends the PIL.
A Almeida, advocate for the petitioner, argued that with an ever-growing population settling down in areas north of Virar, there is an urgent need for direct trains.
Currently, commuters must alight at Virar and then change trains to reach their destination. Almeida said, "For this reason, we have prayed that the railways be directed to start the service from Churchgate to Dahanu."