Suburban commuters in Mumbai may face more inconvenience as the Central Railway (CR) will start work on switching over from 1,500 volts direct current (DC) to 25,000 volts alternate current (AC) traction between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) to Thane on Saturday.
Those who take the last train will be the most affected, as they will have to travel an hour earlier. The CR will operate its last train from CST to Thane at 11.18pm instead of 12.30am on Saturday.
For the 35 lakh suburban commuters on the mainline section, the conversion could mean delayed trains on the weekend and throughout next week because of speed restrictions imposed by the commissioner railway safety (CRS). Trains will run at a speed of 30kmph at four locations.
To carry out the conversion, the railways will have to carry out a six-hour block from 12am to 6am.
“For the next few days, this could result in disruptions and delays. But the conversion will mean better and faster service,” said a CR official.
On Friday, at least 180 trains were cancelled and several were running more than half-an-hour late because of the speed restriction of 15kmph imposed by the CRS.
Chetan Bakshi, CRS central circle, has asked the CR to maintain the speed at nine locations, including the viaduct rail over bridge (ROB) between CST-Masjid, old pipeline ROB at Sandhurst Road, Hancock ROB, Tram Byculla ROB, Garden ROB at Byculla, Matunga workshop foot overbridge (FOB), Kasaiwada FOB at Kurla, Currey Road ROB and Tilak Road ROB.
However, CR officials said the 15kmph restriction will be followed only at the Hancock ROB. The restriction has been removed at four locations from Saturday and revised to 30kmph for the other four.
“This is the transit phase and hence there could be some temporary inconvenience to the commuters,” said Narendra Patil, chief public relation officer (CPRO), Central Railway.
When contacted, Bakshi said, “I am yet to receive any application from CR authorities to increase the speed restrictions. At present, the mandatory speed restriction stands.”