In a bid to stop derailments and signal failures that often delay suburban services, the Western Railway (WR) is now taking up major repair work of its tracks and signals from next month.
The WR is in the process of replacing defective tracks and improving the quality of signaling system along several stretches on the Churchgate-Virar route. Though these works are technical in nature and might not hamper train services, they are essential for smooth train operations in future, say WR officials.
The defective tracks are the old ones with weak welding conjoining two tracks. In worst conditions, it could also lead to derailment. Sources said that the step to strengthen tracks was taken after two trains derailed at Andheri on June 20 and 22.
Dadar, Andheri, Borivli and Bhayander, are the important junctions from where the authorities will be coordinating the work. The tenders will be opened in August.
“We will be replacing the rails with longer length of welded tracks that last long,” said a WR official on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Old sleepers will be removed and joints of tracks that allow trains to cross from one track to another will be strengthened. The joints will be painted with grease to ensure they don’t rust due to rains or water logging.
On July 8, when the city saw the highest rain for this season, these crossovers were locked so that the joints don’t become bad and end up in derailment of trains. The cost of improving the quality of tracks is around Rs30.50 lakh. At the same time signaling system will be made durable to tackle rains. The authorities will replace copper wires connecting signals to the tracks with another metal called cadmium bronze. Copper wires are either stolen by thieves or they incur problems affecting the functioning of a signal due to rains.
“This will improve the circuit connecting the signal and tracks and also reduce signal failures during heavy rains,” said S Chandrayan, chief PRO, Western Railway.
The signal works, at a cost of Rs27.45 lakh, will be completed in phases, with the first half covering the Churchgate-Kandivli section and the second phase covering the Borivali-Virar section.