The Central and Western Railways have started planning revision of the suburban train schedule from April 2017. Improving existing schedule and adding more services with a halt at Diva station are the aim, officials said. At present, suburban locals account for 88 lakh daily average commuters of which Western Railway (WR) sees 37 lakh daily average and Central Railway (CR) witnesses 53 lakh daily average commuters. While 1710 services ply on Central Railway, Western Railway sees 1306 local services daily.
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Addition of any new services is not likely on Central Railway, as far as preliminary planning shows, officials said. “Our system is so congested that we are running 300-400 services beyond our capacity. Due to this, lesser time is allotted for maintenance and thus more cases of accidents emerge. Thus, addition of new services on any line is still not on the cards,” said a senior CR official.
However, more services with halts at Diva station are likely. An additional 5-6 local trips with halts at the station in addition to trains already stopping at present, is being planned.
“Commuters had complained that they were not able to board their trains from Diva station due to overcrowding or lesser frequency. The new time table will want to work on these issues and provide relief to Diva commuters,” said a senior CR official.
Services originating from Diva station and Kalyan could be rescheduled by cancelling a few unused trips. On the harbor line, more trains originating from Vadala station towards Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus(CST) and Andheri is likely, officials said.
“The demand has been to look at a few originating trains from stations like Dadar, Kalyan or Vadala which see immense crowds at present. These services will be planned during the morning and evening peak hours to benefit more commuters,” another official said.
CR will receive five additional rakes next year to be used on the main line and trans harbor line. However, punctuality and breathing space between two trains will remain priority, officials said.
“We will look for solutions to ensure the clash between suburban and mail express trains gets reduced. Commuters have complained of delay due to advantage being given to passage of long distance trains over the suburban schedule. Improving such bottlenecks will remain the aim,” another official said.
CR officials said more services on trans-harbor line could be planned with the new rakes coming in. For WR, the wait is for clearance of suburban track avoidance (STA) line by Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) that is likely to add more suburban services.
“At least fifteen -twenty services between Andheri-Virar could be added if the STA line gets cleared by March next year. Efforts are also on to improve and overhaul the signalling system on WR which will help increase the speed of fast trains that can help us add services,” a senior WR official said.
By March 2017, completion of the Andheri-Goregaon extension of Western Harbor line is expected. If the same is achieved, more services on the Western Harbor line could be planned by WR.
“As rakes for the same are provided by CR, they will be in charge of the same. However, at least ten more services will be planned from Goregaon to Churchgate after the extension line is through,” an official said.
“It is high time that frequency of services from Karjat and Kasara to CST is increased. More women’s special services or an increase in compartments for women should be included in the plan,” said Vanadana Sonawane, member of the Railway Mahila Pravasi Sanghatana.