The Central Railway (CR) has at last floated tenders to upgrade Parel station and lay the fifth and sixth lines between Vidyavihar and Byculla stations. Once completed, these two projects will increase capacity and bring relief to suburban commuters.
Floated on October 6, the two projects are estimated to cost Rs61 crore and are expected to be finalised by the end of February 2016.
If all goes according to plan, they will both be completed by March 2019.
The two news lines will be operate goods and passenger services, freeing up existing fast lines — which are presently encumbered with long-distance trains — for more services.
The planned upgrade to Parel station includes widening existing platforms by 10 metres; extending the station towards Elphinstone bridge; and building an additional 15-car island platform next to platform number 1 with double discharge facility.
A senior railway official, on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said, “The project will provide huge relief to commuters at Parel station, who often complain of overcrowding at the CST-end staircase and footbridge. As part of the project we will dismantle the existing Kalyan-end footbridge and rebuild it. This new footbridge will have exits on both the eastern and western sides.”
Hindustan Times has been reporting consistently about overcrowding at Parel station, which causes near-stampedes at the CST-end staircase during peak hours.
Following this, the government railway police (GRP) have deputed additional staff at the station to manage the crowd during peak hours. However, upgrading infrastructure is the only permanent solution.
Parel and Elphinstone Road stations have seen a huge increase in the number of commuters over the past few years as the erstwhile mill area has turned into a major commercial hub.
The railways and state government, however, have been slow to provide additional infrastructure to cope up with this increase. Upgrading Parel station to a mini-terminus would be the first step in that directions, say transport experts.
CR also plans to build a ticket office on an elevated deck connecting Elphinstone bridge to Parel station, escalators for to the middle footbridge and parking spaces under the skywalk.