MORE NORTH-BOUND services and improving punctuality will remain the focus of the new suburban time table, likely to be implemented from April 2017, for both Central and Western Railway, officials said. At present, suburban travel accounts for more than 88 lakh daily average commuters. While 1,660 services ply on the CR, WR sees 1,306 local services daily. Options such as adjusting the less popular services with more north-bound trains beyond Kalyan, are being looked at, officials said. Timings will be adjusted to increase peak-hour services without affecting breathing space between two trains.
Watch What Else Is Making News
“We are planning to offer some shuttle services beyond Kalyan towards Badlapur, Titwala and other stations in the evening peak hours,” said a CR official.A plan to separate operation of goods trains from suburban scheduling is also underway in CR. This is likely to give priority to the running of suburban services over goods trains, with their scheduling shifted in the evening.
“We are not going to increase services in a congested network. Punctuality is our aim. If some help towards closing level-crossing gates is received this year, we would be able to increase our north-bound punctuality to a great extent,” a CR official said.
While CR’s punctuality was 88 per cent in June last year, it was 89 per cent in December the same year. The target is to take it beyond 90 per cent this year, officials said. “Commuters have complained of delay due to long-distance and goods trains getting priority over the suburban schedule. We are figuring out options to boost suburban punctuality,” an official said.
More trans-harbour services with a halt at Diva are also being looked at. On the Western line, more Western Harbour services till Goregaon are on the cards with the completion of the Andheri-Goregaon extension project. “Clearance of suburban track avoidance (STA) line in the next two months is likely. If that is through, more services in the Andheri-Virar belt are certain. Our aim is to give more Virar-bound services in the evening peak hours as the section sees more demand,” a WR official said.
“Focus must be on returning services from Kurla on CR and Dadar on WR in the northern directions. Services must be planned in sections that see larger demand. While punctuality is a concern, without approval of additional lines, including fifth and sixth lines between Thane and Diva, this seems impossible,” said Subhash Gupta, a railway activist.
The CR has made a demand for additional 15 rakes over a period of five years to replace old rakes. With 50 rakes set to be received for new projects, the total demand on the line is set to go up. “Many additional projects, including the Seawoods-Uran and Karjat-Panvel corridor, are being planned, which will require additional rakes. For all of these, we have made a demand for more rakes. From a total of 140 rakes in operation, it is all set to reach 210 rakes by 2021,” said a senior CR official.