A Non-Railwaymen’s Plan for Capacity Optimization in Mumbai trains with lesser Budget

Mumbai:  An engineer from Mumbai, Mr.Ketan Goradia prepares a blueprint for a railway project that will increase passenger-carrying capacity on western, central and harbour lines. The plan involves lesser budgetary allocations.

The already overloaded city’s lifeline is exploring various ways to ease travel.

Last week, a city-based civil engineer Ketan Goradia gave a presentation to MPs, MLAs and guardian minister Jayant Patil on how commuting woes of Mumbaikars can be reduced without spending huge sums on elevated corridors.

Here are the details of Goradia’s plan which shows that passenger carrying capacity of western, central and harbour lines can be increased by 150 to 300 per cent without huge infrastructural changes or financial outlay.

Harbour line modification (Cost: Rs 330 crore)
The harbour line can be modified between Dockyard Road and Sandhurst Road stations. After Dockyard Road station, trains can be diverted to a proposed elevated section consisting of a two-tier bridge over the P D’Mello Road. The bridge will provide separate elevated sections having stations for Sandhurst Road, Masjid and CST which will be above P D’Mello Road. This will free up track number 1 and 2 as well as platform number 1 and 2 for Central line use between CST and Sandhurst Road stations.

Western & Central line modification (Cost: Rs 2,081 crore)
A arc network should be created by building a tunnel connecting the Western Railway with the Central Railway. Two tracks (track number 1 and 4) of Central Railway’s main line can be taken underground by building a 15.9km-long tunnel just before Currey Road station going 40 feet below from the Sandhurst Road yard with CST going underground on P D’Mello Road. The tunnel will pass through Shahid Bhagat Singh Marg, Madam Cama Road, Oval Maidan, Maharshi Karve Marg or under Marine Drive, where one of the alignment will be used by the elevated corridor. At Mumbai Central station, the arc tunnel will meet the existing tracks on the western line, creating six new stations — Byculla, Masjid, CST, Oval, Churchgate and Mumbai Central.

The modifications between Mumbai Central and Currey Road will help increase two tracks, thereby taking the total number of lines to six between Churchgate-Bhayander and CST-Kalyan. Six new platforms at CST and two at Churchgate can be built. It will also provide direct connectivity to the central business district of Nariman Point.

Arc between Bhayander and Diva Cost: Rs 9,000 crore

WR-CR circular railway can be created by using the arc tunnel line between Bhayander station on the WR and Diva Road on CR and completing the other side of the circle by using the existing Vasai-Diva line. Two railway flyovers can be created to allow uninterrupted service. One on the circular line over the main western line between Bhayander and Naigaon stations after the creek bridge and connecting the Vasai-Diva line and second over the central main line near Diva station. This arrangement will provide a direct access from south Mumbai to stations like Kaman Road, Kharbao and Bhiwandi on the Diva line allowing about 200 sqkm area to be connected to Mumbai. According to Goradia as the Ministry of Railways has approved the Virar-Vasai-Diva-Panvel corridor, the Arc tunnel plan can be dropped for a further cheaper option.

As part of second phase, Goradia has proposed  the following changes to the elevated corridor.

Churchgate-Virar elevated corridor redesign
The proposed alignment design will retain the overall distance of 61 km between Oval and Virar but has many advantages which make the line more economically viable.  It will provide access to the main business districts of Nariman Point, Main Diamond Market, Zaveri Bazaar, Bandra-Kurla Complex, Goregaon IT hub and to Andheri commercial hub near the Western Express Highway.

It will provide access to residents of Thakur Complex, Thakur Village, Samata Nagar, Challengers, Mota Nagar, Gokul Nagar, who are mostly car users.

Modification of CST-Panvel elevated corridor
The present alignment of the CST-Panvel elevated corridor is redundant beyond Juinagar station as passengers can use the additional Thane-Panvel line for further travel.
The plan is to retain the present alignment from CST to Juinagar station and then divert east. This will allow the line to be connected to the Diva-Taloja-Panvel line and allow an extra area of about 250 sqkm to be connected directly to South Mumbai.

New CST-Diva-Taloja-Panvel line
As the harbour line will be separated from the main line at CST, the additional platforms can be used for a new CST-Diva-Taloja-Panvel line which will allow an area of about 250 sq. km to be connected to South Mumbai.

New trains
New fast air-conditioned rakes can be ordered with higher speeds of over 170 kmph, increasing the average speed to 90kmph from the present 40kmph which can decrease travel time of Bhayander-Churchgate section to 35 minutes or CST to Kalyan to only 45 minutes.

New control system
All the three western, central and harbour lines and trains can be provided with Communication-Based Automatic Train Control System (CBTC) with a headway designed for 60 seconds and running at 120 seconds.
Cost: Rs 3,635 crore

The project can be executed by Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation as the state government through Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority has 49 per cent stake.