In the next three months, the Western Railway will start work on the additional sixth line between Borivli and Mumbai Central stations.
This is part of the Rs 5,300-crore second phase of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP), which aims to improve the public transport situation in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
Presently WR has four lines between Churchgate and Mahim for suburban trains, while the fifth line for long-distance trains is between Mahalaxmi and Mahim stations.
With only outstation trains expected to ply on the additional fifth and sixth lines, suburban local trains will not be forced to halt at stations or in between signals waiting for a long-distance train to pass, thus saving time.
WR authorities have called for tenders for the basic work between Borivli and Bandra Terminus in the first stage.
This has been further sub-divided into simultaneous work to be carried out between Borivli and Andheri stations and Bandra Terminus and Andheri station.
"In the first stage, we will connect the tracks connecting Bandra Terminus with the sixth line. This will at least allow all long-distance trains originating from Bandra Terminus to run on the segregated line, thus improving movement of suburban trains beyond Khar towards the north," said a WR official, on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to talk to the media.
Work is expected to begin at an initial cost of around Rs 78 crore.
This would include providing new platforms and extending existing ones at stations where long-distance trains halt, extending foot overbridges, constructing bridges carrying utility pipelines above and beneath the tracks, create side drains and retaining walls, and building roads under bridges and subways.
The authorities also need to consider demolition of slums and buildings that are in the way of the alignment, rehabilitate the residents and procure land for the project, which the officials feel are the most daunting tasks.
"We cannot set a deadline for the project yet, until these practical problems of rehabilitating and procuring land are taken care of," added the WR official.
The MUTP Phase-II, in which 11 different works would be implemented, is expected to be complete by 2014.
On July 23, the World Bank signed an agreement for MUTP Phase-II with the state government and Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation to provide a loan of Rs 1,910 crore.