THE Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) has asked the Western Railway (WR) to demolish a structure housing electrical supply equipment near the Jogeshwari station before passenger services can be permitted to run on the ‘suburban avoiding track’.
The suburban avoiding track is a line between Virar and Andheri used solely for the movement of goods trains about once every hour. To improve punctuality and to increase services, WR authorities are planning to run three passenger trains on this track in the morning and evening rush hours each.
The WR carried out successful trial runs on this line four months ago and sent a report to the CRS for its permission to start operations. However, sources said, the CRS has asked the railway authorities to demolish the building first.
“The three-storey building of electrical storage supply between Jogeshwari and Andheri stations will have to be demolished before services can be planned on the line. In comparison to goods or long-distance trains, the width of an EMU rake (suburban train) is more, which will bring the train too close to the building. To avoid any untoward incident, the demolition of the building will be sought,” a Western Railway official said.
Plans to raze the building were already on the cards for the construction of the fifth and sixth lines between Mumbai Central-Borivli stations.
“When plans of the fifth and sixth lines between the two stations were laid, it was certain that the building would have to be demolished. Now, the CRS authorities have raised the same point. Employees inside the building will be relocated. We have informed the construction authorities to take action at the earliest,” said Mukul Jain, Divisional Railway Manager, Western Railway.
While the authorities have not stated an exact time period for the demolition of the building, authorities confirmed that services will begin on the track only by March 2017.
As per official figures, WR has registered a growth in its suburban commute by 0.67% in April-September 2016 in comparison with the same period last year. A spurt in the population of the suburbs, specially in areas such as Andheri, Nalasopara and Borivli, was stated to be among the reasons.