Linking of main Rail Corridors of Mumbai
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The implementation of these two links - Bandra – Kurla Link & Parel – Elphinston Road Link is very vital as it will reduce tremendous hardships and save precious time of hundreds and thousands of commuters in Mumbai Metropolitan region.
It is indeed most surprising & puzzling that the direct rail link between the three main rail corridors of Mumbai (Central Western and Harbour Railways Lines ) providing easy access to several lacs of commuters travelling from Central Railway to Western Railway or Harbour line or in reverse has never been given any attention by the concerned authorities. This link is so vital that it ought to have been given top priority to improve infrastructure for city (see illustration enclosed).
1. Bandra – Kurla Link:
Presently the commuters wanting to travel from Central Suburbs beyond Kurla such as Ghatkopar, Vikhroli, Bhandup, Mulund and onwards to Western Suburbs beyond Bandra, such as Khar, Santacruz, Vile Parle, Andheri, and beyond and vis-a-versa have to perforce come to Dadar railway station for changing from one railway to another. With more than 8 ~ 10 million people staying beyond Kurla/Bandra in Central and Western Suburbs respectively in entire MMRDA region and traveling in either direction regularly and the number increasing every year, the direct train from Central Railway to Western Railway via Bandra – Kurla is such a dire necessity that one wonders as to how for so many years it has never been given the priority it deserves. It may be mentioned that in the earlier development plan published in 1966, this corridor was actually reflected but for the reasons unknown it simply disappeared in the subsequent development plan.
2. Parel – Elphinston Link:
Apart from Bandra – Kurla Link simultaneously the Parel- Elphinston Road Link which two stations are almost touching each other as will see in the plan needs to be accorded high-priority as it will provide easy access for Western Railway commuters South of Elphinston i.e. between Churchgate to Elphinston Road wanting to travel Northwards beyond Parel on Central Railway or even Harbour line beyond Kurla and vice-versa Central Railway commuters beyond Parel wanting to travel between Elphinston Road & Churchgate will find it most convenient without having to change at Dadar.
3. The plight of the commuters at Dadar Railway station trying to get in and out of the train on
both the railways is indeed terrible. There is a tremendous rush. A situation such as this must be un-precedented anywhere else in the world. It is simply a nightmare. The rush in the trains at Dadar station is so heavy and the platforms are so overcrowded that it is well neigh impossible for elderly people or children to negotiate the change from one Railway to the other.
4. If data is collected of the total number of people perforce required to change from one Railway to other at Dadar Station, it will immediately highlight the pressing need of this link. Considering the number of man hours saved, and the reduced hardships of the commuters the cost benefit ratio will far outweigh the cost of the link.
5. These vital links will alleviate not only the extreme hardships suffered by such a large number of commuters but will also save their precious time. Their journey time to travel from Kurla to Dadar and then from Dadar to Bandra or vice versa will be reduced substantially. The distance between Bandra-Kurla is approximately 5.5 to 6 kms as against approximately 12 kms of distance required to be travelled now. Even by a most conservative estimate there will be a saving in time of at least 20/25 minutes per commuter. (This would include the time spent to commute from one platform to other and the awaiting time spent on the other railway to catch the train). This link can also reduce the travelling time for commuters travelling to and fro from New Bombay and commuting to Bandra and beyond via Harbour line as their present journey via Wadala, King Circle, Mahim route is much longer (atleast 5 to 6 kms. more) than Bandra-Kurla direct route as will be seen from the enclosed illustration.
6. Bandra – Kurla Link is also all the more important as both Bandra and Kurla are now major terminals for long distance trains for Central and Western railways and the passengers wanting to reach Bandra or Kurla have to depend on a taxi/autorickshaw for conveyance to reach the terminals adding to their hardships and cost. This link can be planned in such a manner so as to include both B andra and Kurla terminals, both of which are away from Bandra & Kurla suburban stations. It could be made possible to reach both these terminals from either Central or Western side directly without being required to get down at Bandra or Kurla suburban stations and catch a vehicle from outside the station. A shuttle service of one or two bogies can be operated between these two terminals joining them with Bandra and Kurla suburban Stations. This link will also pass through commercial business district of Bandra – Kurla and will be most helpful for both Central & Western railway or Harbour line commuters for easy access to the same.
7. It will also reduce the surface traffic on road between Bandra & Kurla and reduce overall congestion in this entire region.
8. The popularity of present metro linking Ghatkopar to Versova itself indicates the pressing need of linking Eastern and Western suburbs. However, this link just cannot be itself be the substitute for the obvious reasons as it does not provide for continuous journey for commuters between Eastern & Western rail corridors.
While there are so many schemes for improving the infrastructure of the city being discussed & proposed to be implemented, it is difficult to understand as to how these two most vital links have not been given any attention. Cost wise, the total length of these two links (which together is a mere 7 km. in length) will be a small fraction of other Metro lines being planned & implemented but the cost beneficial ratio will far exceed as compared to other projects being proposed and implemented.
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