Fifteen years after work on the fifth and six railway lines between Kurla and Thane was initiated, commuters on the Central Railway (CR) will finally benefit from it starting December, when it will finally becomes operational.
All long-distance trains will start running on the two new lines, allowing the CR to add 50 train services along the 17-km stretch over a period of time.
“Once the lines are ready, 40 services of long-distance trains and 10 services of freight trains from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus [Kurla] will use them. Gradually this will enable us to add an equal number of suburban services as and when we get the new trains,” said S Mudgerikar, chief public relations officer, CR.
Currently, outstation trains run on the tracks used by the suburban fast trains and tend to delay the local services.
“We are forced to make local trains wait as their timings clash with the schedules of outstation trains,” said a CR official, on condition of anonymity.
Once the new lines are operational, the suburban trains will also not face the two-minute delay they face as they wait for outstation trains to leave a station.
The new lines can also be used during mega blocks – on weekends to carry out repair and maintenance work – by local trains.
As of now, on weekends, there’s a 30 per cent reduction in CR train services.
The CR completed work on the fifth and sixth lines between Diva Junction and Kalyan in 2008 and between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Sandhurst Road recently.
There are problems between Thane and Diva as the CR will have to clear and rehabilitate a large number of project-affected people before laying the tracks.
Officials blame the long delay in completing work between Kurla and Thane on the acquisition of land and the shifting of project-affected people.
Once the entire route is complete, all long-distance and freight trains will run on segregated lines from CST to Kalyan.
“It will take another five years to complete every piece of work on the fifth and sixth lines between CST and Kalyan,” said the official.