The much-awaited extension of the Virar-Dahanu line for suburban trains has been delayed by a year. The 60-km line is expected to begin only by January 2012 when the remaining work is completed.
Earlier the Western Railway (WR) said that the delay had been caused by the unavailability of trains, which were to arrive by June this year.
However, they now also attribute the cause of the delay to work pending on two foot-over-bridges (FOBs) between Vangaon and Dahanu.
The WR has begun work of widening and strengthening on the two FOBs. “Both the bridges are in distress (poor condition) and need be strengthened. This work is expected to take at least a year,” said RN Verma, general manager, WR, who retired on January 31.
Moreover, the frame of the FOBs would hamper the passage of local trains that are much broader and would also require wider tracks.
Sources from the WR said that they have been waiting for the entire work on this stretch, undertaken by Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC), to be completed before taking up their work.
Recently, the Commission of Railway Safety asked the WR to make changes on this stretch before starting local train services. “If required, we can run local trains by putting speed restrictions, although it wouldn’t be safe,” said a senior WR official.
Further, the fifth and sixth Further, the fifth and sixth railway lines on the Western line received a partial sanction of Rs373 crore. This would allow them to begin the linking of the fifth line between Mahim and Santacruz and the sixth line on the Borivli-Mumbai Central stretch.
Railway officials are also looking at completing the construction of two roads-over-bridges (ROBs) between Jogeshwari and Kandivli in the next two years. Until now, the WR and the BMC were arguing on who would construct the ROBs.
It has now been decided that both agencies will share the cost depending on the work undertaken.
There would also be more foot-over-bridges (FOBs) on suburban line in the months to come. The WR has sanctioned eight more FOBs at stations like Elphinstone Road, Lower Parel and Vasai among other stations. They would also complete conversion from DC to AC by May this year, thereby allowing trains to run faster.