After three years, it might not be that difficult to board a Panvel train.
The union cabinet and its committees have given the green light to run 12-car trains on the harbour line from CST-Belapur-Panvel and Bandra-Andheri section and also informed the railway ministry about it in early February.
This project, which has a March 2015-deadline, is expected to increase the carrying capacity of the harbour line by nearly 33%.
“This is the fourth project that has been cleared by the ministry of railways to clear the backlog of the harbour line,” said a senior official, who had accompanied the railway minister in Mumbai.
“The other three projects are extending the line from Panvel to Uran, a separate fast-train corridor with air-conditioned locals and a third line to decongest the existing harbour track to segregate goods lines. Work on all these has begun.”
He added that funds for the project will be allocated in the railway budget and work will be complete in the financial year of 2014-15.
“The average rise in commuter traffic on the harbour line in the last five years has been 9%-10%, while the same is 3%-4% on the suburban central and western main lines.” the official said.
“Considering the estimated rise in traffic in the next 20 years, it would not be possible to operate the required train services on the existing corridor, which requires two additional tracks. These additional tracks could be fast tracks leading to Navi Mumbai, and save at least 30 minutes of travel time up to Panvel.”
The Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation has begun work on a study report on the practicalities of the implementation that will involve increasing the length of platforms and re-spacing signals and overhead equipment at the elevated stations of Cotton Green, Sandhurst Road and Dockyard Road at an approximate cost of Rs800 crore.