Mumbai: Churchgate-Virar journey to get quicker as trains increase their speed

Mumbai: In a good news for the commuters, who use Churchgate-Virar local for travelling, following a yard remodelling and girder replacement, suburban trains on the Churchgate-Virar route – one of the busiest suburban railway routes in India – are likely to run faster.

After more than 12 years, the trains can now ply at the speed of 100 kilometres per hour (kmph) on the fast line at Andheri station. Ending the crawling of trains, this is expected to reduce the travel time of commuters on the Churchgate-Borivli-Virar stretch by one to three minutes, reported Hindustan Times.

The decision has been made possible due to western railway’s (WR) relaxation of the speed restrictions on the stretch between Andheri and Jogeshwari stations on the fast line, raising it from 50 kmph to 100 kmph starting this week.

This step is expected to improve the pace and punctuality of the local trains on the WR. Of the 1,355 daily suburban services, more than 1,000 pass via Andheri. Two permanent speed restrictions of 50 kmph – the first, on a diamond-shaped crossing and the second, above a vehicular underpass (known as Andheri subway) – were responsible for the delay of trains on this route.

The first speed restriction was imposed as the area had a complex diamond crossing and train drivers had to tread the path carefully. The second speed restriction was due to minor cracks that had developed on the girders on the stretch above the underpass.

These restrictions were the primary reason for delay in train services. Railway officials have stated that the relaxation of speed restriction is a significant development which will fasten the train speeds. Removal of the speed restrictions was made possible due to the remodelling of Andheri station yard and replacement of the faulty girder of the bridge.

The plan for the work had been proposed 12 years ago but the administration was reluctant to take it up, fearing passengers’ reactions. Mukul Jain, divisional Railway manager of WR, Mumbai division, said, “The work was completed in 84 days, without any major disruption of suburban traffic. We undertook two blocks of six hours each for replacement of bridge girders.”

The diamond crossing has been replaced with six new crossing points and an improved signalling system. The track curvature has also been reduced, increasing the train speed.

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