On CR mega block day 1, 40% work completed; commuters complain of delays | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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On CR mega block day 1, 40% work completed; commuters complain of delays

Jun 01, 2024 09:11 AM IST

The block is being implemented to facilitate platform extension and widening at two important stations: CSMT in south Mumbai and Thane station

Mumbai: On Friday, the first day of the 63-hour mega block on Central Railway (CR), suburban locals and stations wore a deserted look even as some commuters complained of services being delayed by 30-45 minutes. The block is being implemented to facilitate platform extension and widening at two important stations: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) in south Mumbai and Thane station.

Mumbai, India. May 31, 2024: Central Railway is conducting a 63-hour special Mega Block from Friday night to Sunday afternoon for platform extension works at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) staion. May 31, 2024. (Photo by Raju Shinde/HT Photo)
Mumbai, India. May 31, 2024: Central Railway is conducting a 63-hour special Mega Block from Friday night to Sunday afternoon for platform extension works at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) staion. May 31, 2024. (Photo by Raju Shinde/HT Photo)

With the mega block commencing at midnight on Thursday, work on widening platforms five and six in Thane was taken up on a war footing. Rail engineers worked through the night, using earthmovers to shift the tracks next to platform five by three meters. They completed the task well ahead of the deadline, such that the Up slow line (towards CSMT) was declared fit at 8:04am instead of the scheduled time of 12:30pm, said sources.

As the day progressed, 785 pre-cast reinforced cement concrete (RCC) boxes and 1,154 coping stones were brought to the site in a 32-wagon rake. “We called for these special wagons, which usually carried war tanks, from Dehu Road,” said a CR official.

The RCC boxes and stones were used to extend the width of platform number five and align it with the existing height. Weighing 2-3 tonne each, the boxes were lifted using four earthmovers and placed next to one another. Gaps between the boxes will be filled up over the weekend with stones, rabbids and cement before they are levelled.

“With the tracks shifted and work on laying down RCC boxes already underway, we have finished almost 40% of the work,” said the CR official. “The remaining work is crucial and time consuming, which we hope to complete within the set deadline,” the official noted.

Suburban services on the CR network wore a deserted look on Friday, with several trains being delayed by 30-45 minutes. Railway passenger associations complained that the block could have been better managed. “There were complaints of trains halting for a long time in between stations. Road transportation could have been better as it was chaotic outside Thane station,” said Nandkumar Deshmukh, president, Thane Suburban Rail Pravasi Sangh.

“We had stationed almost 100 railway cops, a helpline desk and several ticket checking staff at Thane. But there wasn’t much of a problem,” said a rail staff stationed at Thane.

Plans for the weekend

On Saturday, CR will cancel 534 services for work on extending and widening platforms at Thane and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT). A 36-hour block for extending platforms 10 and 11 at CSMT will start on Friday midnight. The extension will help accommodate 24-car long-distance trains on these platforms instead of the current 16-car trains; at least 13 long distance trains between CSMT and the Konkan region as well as various states in northern and southern India are likely to benefit from the capacity augmentation. The 36-hour block will also be used for a technical upgrade, with CR switching over to electronic interlocking from the existing, failure-prone route relay interlocking commissioned in 1992. Several mail, express and suburban trains will be short terminated/ short-originated from Wadala, Dadar, Thane, Pune, Panvel and Nashik stations during this period. Trains will terminate at Wadala on the harbour line and Byculla on the main line.

Western Railway (WR) has also scheduled major infrastructure works over the weekend. WR officials said a block will be implemented from 12.20am on June 1 to 6.20am on June 2 to replace a steel girder with a PSC slab at bridge number 90 on the Virar–Vaitarna section. 32 local and long-distance trains will be cancelled during the block to facilitate the work, said officials.

Exams postponed

The University of Mumbai (MU) has postponed two exams scheduled for Saturday, June 1 on account of the mega block. The semester 8 of engineering students and semester 2 exam of BMS (5-year combined course) students will now be held on Saturday, June 8. The university has also declared June 1 as a holiday instead of June 8. “Despite the mega block, 43 exams across various faculties were conducted smoothly on May 31,” said an MU official.

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