COMMUTERS ON the Harbour Line of Central Railway (CR) can expect more services once the elevated three-line harbour line station above the eastern part of the sprawling Kurla station is constructed, said senior railway officials. Officials confirmed that the construction work began last week. At present, there are eight platforms at Kurla station. The project entails building two elevated lines starting from the north of Chunabhatti to the south of Tilak Nagar stations with a three-line Harbour station to be constructed above platforms 7 and 8. While the two lines will handle traffic to and from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) on the Harbour Line, the third line is expected to run shuttle services from Kurla.
“Kurla becomes one of the major centre points on CR handling traffic from both the main line and harbour sections. It is equally saturated with an increasing number of goods trains that have to be run on the same set of tracks. Services on the Harbour Line wait for as long as fifteen minutes daily due to this problem,” said a senior CR official.
Last month, harbour line services were suspended for sixteen hours after the derailment of a goods train leaving no space for an alternative line on harbour to carry services. According to senior railway officials, punctuality of the Harbour Line could be improved once the dedicated lines are provided at the junction. “Once punctuality is improved, we can add more services in the section for commuters, especially in the peak hours. Commuters had been demanding the shuttle services between Kurla-CST and in the north direction. It will be a great relief for Harbour Line commuters till the elevated corridor is planned between CST-Panvel,” the official added.
Once the elevated platforms are built, the existing Harbour Line tracks on the ground (platforms 7 and 8) will be used as the fifth and sixth tracks going towards CST. “Kurla sees a major operational problem everyday as suburban trains and an ever-increasing number of goods trains have to be adjusted on the same set of tracks. It will allow us increase the number of trips of freight trains to move through Kurla station from the Mumbai Port Trust and Wadala end,” the official added.
“While the preliminary work has started, encroachment could turn out to be the biggest problem in finishing the work. After the land is vacated, taking mega blocks for laying tracks on the congested line could turn out to be one of the biggest issues,” added the official.
The Rs 100-crore project, finalised in 2015, will take three years for completion. This will become the sixth elevated station on the harbour section after King’s Circle, Sewri, Cotton Green, Dockyard Road and Sandhurst Road stations.