With the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro corridor scheduled to begin its service by March 2014,it is estimated that the Ghatkopar railway station on Central Railway (CR) and Andheri on Western Railway (WR) will witness a 15-20 per cent increase in commuter traffic. This will make Andheri the suburban station with the highest footfall.
According to a passenger satisfaction survey report by Wilbur Smith,Andheri station,which also provides connectivity to CR via Harbour line,had a footfall of 6.04 lakh in 2012,the highest of all on WR. Though Ghatkopar station on CR has a footfall of 2.68 lakh,railway officials already see the station as a growing hub for commuters.
Mukesh Nigam,Divisional Railway Manager,CR,said,We expect traffic to go up by 15-20 per cent once the metro services start. Ghatkopar station has already witnessed high footfall. Senior WR officers estimate a growth of about 10 to 15 per cent at Andheri station. According to CR data,commuter traffic between Ghatkopar and CST is the second highest after Thane and CST. While an average 1.17 lakh people commute daily from Thane to CST,54,000 commute daily between Ghatkopar and CST. Traffic between Ghatkopar and CST is higher than traffic between Kalyan and CST.
Of the 834 daily services on mainline of CR,83 per cent halt at Ghatkopar station,including 193 fast trains. Senior CR officers say capacity augmentation in trains is tough at Ghatkopar,which runs only 12 and 15-car services. If we halt all fast trains at Ghatkopar,it will affect the punctuality of services, said a senior CR officer.
Either CR plans more 15-car services to increase the carrying capacity of 12-car rakes by another three coaches or complete traction conversion work till CST to free up the fast line from mail/express trains and run more suburban services to meet demand, said the officer.