The Central Railways' (CR) project to add two more lines to its suburban railways to improve train services may now face a delay. This is due to construction on private land adjoining the tracks, between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and Masjid Bunder, as well as a 150-year-old iron bridge in Byculla.
The addition of the fifth and sixth lines between CST and Kalyan was planned so that while long-distance passenger and goods trains could be run on the two new lines, the four existing ones could be used largely for suburban trains. Currently, while suburban trains are using the two slow lines, the two fast lines are used for long-distance passenger and goods trains.
Though lines have been laid between Kalyan and Kurla, the work on the stretch from Kurla to CST is facing a number of hurdles.
One of the main hurdles being faced by the CR in the completion of the project is the construction on private land between Masjid Bunder and CST. The CR may thus have to go slow on the fifth and sixth line corridor extension from Parel to CST.
"There is no problem in extension of fifth-sixth line between Kurla to Sion. The stretch comprises Dharavi slums encroached on the government land that could be rehabilitated. The real concern is the construction on private land that falls in Masjid to CST stretch," informed senior CR official requesting anonymity.
Another, major concern for railway authorities is the 150-year-old Byculla bridge which is made of iron. "Dismantling the Byculla bridge could be problematic as it is connected to several other roads and could cause major traffic woes. Therefore, the bridge and construction on private land between CST to Masjid remains the major concern," added the official.
The administration has decided to complete the project in two phases. In first phase, the fifth and sixth line will be extended only till Parel by 2014. Further, depending on the requirement and feasibility a decision on the extension till CST will be taken.