Elphinstone Road stampede effect: Parel to get additional platform by April-end
Worried about being stuck in a stampede-like situation at Parel or Elphinstone Road station every day? By this month-end, your peak-hour train commute to and from these stations is set to get smoother.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Within a month, a new 15-car additional platform will be opened to public at Parel. This will take the number of platforms at Parel to three from the existing two and help decongest the overcrowded platform for slow trains. It will also help the authorities introduce trains starting from the station.
The work on the project, undertaken as part of the Parel terminus project worth Rs51 crore, picked up speed only after a stampede at Elphinstone Road station FOB killed 23 commuters last year.
Commuters will also get a new foot overbridge (FOB) to exit the station from the east. However, it will take another couple of months to use this FOB to get out from the west side and until October to use it to reach Elphinstone Road station. “We plan to commission work on the new platform work by April- end,” said Sunil Udasi, chief spokesperson of CR.
“The new 12-m wide FOB, which will connect to the west of the station, is expected to be opened by June. The bridge will get a landing on an extended platform of Elphinstone Road station by shifting RRI (Route Relay Interlocking) cabin there. But that will take until October,” said Ravinder Bhakar, chief spokesperson of WR.
CHANGE: WHAT HAS AND WHAT WILL
Elphinstone Road station on the western suburban corridor and Parel on the central suburban network are adjoining stations that connect the city’s suburbs and the southern island city to the centre, an erstwhile mill land area that has now been transformed into a business and services hub.
While the footfall at these stations increased exponentially, infrastructure amenities have been poor, which led to the stampede on September 29, 2017.
According to CR officials, after commissioning the new platform at Parel, the Dadar-bound slow trains will be diverted to its left, closing the existing line. The new platform will be connected with the old one using four to five iron bridges. This will allow commuters to easily switch platforms and use old or new FOBs to reach the east or west of Elphinstone Road station.
The new FOB, which will connect the new platform to the station’s exit on the east for now, will later be given landing on all platforms. “Integrated landing is planned for the new FOB, in which staircase and lifts will be provided on one side, while escalators will come up on the other side,” he said, adding the new FOB will be connected to Elphinstone ROB later through a skywalk. The land acquisition process is on.
The CR also plans to widen the existing slow line platform by 1.5m to the left, where a new railway track will be laid. This new track, where trains will be terminated, will enable railways to start new trains from here and disperse the crowd more efficiently. “The yard will have to be remodeled for it. This will be done in the next phase. Two new siding lines will also come up between Parel and Dadar in this phase,” said a senior CR official.
WORK IN PROGRESS
Meanwhile, the western railway has started linking the FOB to the west of the station. A block will be carried out for the work in April.
While the FOB’s extension to the west will be inaugurated in June, the linkage to Elphinstone station is likely to be a more complicated and slower process. It will require shifting of RRI cabin – centre of operations for the entire section – to the west before the existing platform can be extended to provide the new FOB a landing.
Bhatkar said the WR will also demolish the staff quarter buildings outside the station to provide more circulating area. The overall plan includes widening of the south side landing of the existing FOB, opposite to the location where the stampede occurred, to allow easy movement of passengers.
“The work is approved and will be completed by the end of the new financial year,” he said.
So far, the army has already built a new FOB on the Dadar-end of Parel station, giving it access to the west. However, this is of limited utility to commuters, as it does not give relief to those accessing Parel and Elphinstone road stations.
The new Army FOB built within 117 days also cannot have a landing on the new platform because it is for end-to-end connections and cannot be cut in between.