The track along the Bandra (East) slum where children are seen playing or people strolling has been put to use.
For the past 15 days, New Delhi-bound trains such as Rajdhani and Shatabdi were made to run on the track encroached upon by illegal slums on both sides.
The track, laid about a century ago, is usually full of garbage and was used only to move goods trains and engines that go towards the Bandra Terminus.
“We have started running Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains on the fifth line. This will ensure punctuality of local train,” said a Western Railway (WR) official.
Once the Western Railway completes work of constructing the 5th and 6th line under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project, the track will be idle again. The laying of additional lines will be completed by 2014.
Till then, the WR will run trains on this line more frequently, especially during peak hours to avoid delay in running the suburban trains.
Usually suburban trains are stopped when outstation trains enter the suburban section. This delays suburban services by at least 10 minutes.
In emergencies, some long-distance trains starting from Mumbai Central Terminus too take this line under speed precautions.
But railway administration said that utmost care was being taken while running the trains on the track. Speed restriction is followed very strictly.
“We have asked the drivers to constantly bell the hooters while passing through this line,” said RN Verma, WR general manager.
This track runs next to the water pipeline connecting Tansa Lake and marshy land. It leads to Bandra Terminus and diesel loco shed.
Once the train crosses Bandra Terminus, the track passages through an area covered with bushes on one side and buildings on the other until it again connects the suburban line. “We will be clearing the obstacles next to the tracks and cut the overgrown weeds soon,” said Verma.
Under the MUTP project, the additional lines will be laid next to the existing lines but will traverse around the Bandra Terminus and come out between Khar and Santacruz.
The railway bridge between Bandra and Khar stations used by the trains running on Harbour line will be demolished and new ones would be laid.