The New Year is going to bring unpleasant news for about 33 lakh commuters of the Western Railway (WR).
From January 2011, the commute to Churchgate will take a tad longer because WR will start work on lowering the height of tracks between Dadar and Lower Parel to enable the conversion of power supply from DC to AC.
Hence, the railway is planning to issue a speed restriction of 20kmph on all locals running on this stretch. Currently, suburban trains touch 100kmph on this stretch.
According to a railway official, the work will get completed in about 40 days. The bad news does not end here: the speed on this stretch might be slow even after work is completed.
“We intend to use steel sleepers instead of concrete ones during the process of lowering the height of tracks. This could reduce the speed even after the work is completed,” a WR official said, adding that because the thickness of steel sleepers is less, trains may not run above 60-65kmph.
Sharat Chandrayan, chief PRO, WR, said, “We have to complete lowering of tracks by March 2011.”
According to the plan, the railway intends to lower the tracks by 200mm at Elphinstone Road to accommodate the conversion from DC to AC.
The conversion requires minimum distance of five meters between the tracks and the overhead wires.
The decision to carry out the changes was taken after it was found that the Elphinstone Road steel bridge had corroded.
Incidentally, the WR had completed raising the height of tracks at Elphinstone Road about a couple of years ago after they found that tracks usually submerged during rains.
Now, after the DC to AC conversion, flooding may happen again during the rains.
The height of tracks on Central Railway line at Parel running parallel to Elphinstone Road is 100mm below the WR’s line, and they get submerged during rains.