Mumbai: Talks are on to introduce an advanced signalling system, prevalent in metro rail networks, in the Harbour line to improve service frequency and prevent failures.
The Harbour line only has a slow corridor, and in cases of signal failure the entire system comes to a halt as there is no option of diverting trains to the fast or slow corridors as is done in the Western Railway and Central Railway main line networks.
“We have held discussions with Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) to have cab signalling technology to improve services,” said CR General Manager S K Sood.
The cab signalling or communication-based train control system works on digital technology. A motorman receives the signal in his cab about the speed and location of the train, braking distance, etc. It allows trains to move closer behind each other taking into account the safety buffer.
“If it is introduced, the frequency of trains will come down from four minutes to two minutes. This will improve punctuality and ease overcrowding on the Harbour line which is witnessing a huge rush due to increase in population in Navi Mumbai,” said an MRVC official.
The entire project would cost Rs 1,700 crore. “Around Rs 700 crore will be spent on cab signalling and another Rs 1,000 crore on procuring rakes to run additional services,” added the official.
As of now, the Harbour line is serviced by 37 rakes. Officials estimate around 20 more rakes would be needed as services are expected to jump by 70-80%. CR now runs 583 services in Harbour and it could go up to around 1,000.
MRVC officials feel the project can be executed in three years with the existing rakes retro-fitted to adapt to the cab signalling technology.