In order to reduce the load of outstation trains handled by the Bandra and Mumbai Central terminuses, the western railway (WR) has planned a new terminus at Vasai Road.
The terminus, which is set to come up by 2023, will also ease the present bottleneck at Vasai Road station. The project was necessitated as the city’s rail network, which operates nearly 200 outstation trains and 3,000 local train services daily has reached its saturation point — the brunt of which is borne by WR and central railway (CR). WR had first proposed the construction of a terminus at Vasai Road in 2013, the plan for which didn’t materialise. The project was again proposed in 2017. The project plan received a boost when Union railway minister Piyush Goyal on August 23 announced exploring the feasibility of a new main line terminal at Vasai Road.
Of the 103 outstation trains handled by WR in the city daily, 43 trains originate from Mumbai Central and Bandra Terminus, all of which cross Vasai Road. Apart from this, 60 trains are interchanged at Vasai Road. These include trains heading to and from north India, trains coming to or from CR and Main Line Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) passenger trains from Panvel. Moreover, engine of outstation trains of CR are changed here along with the entire staff, which takes 50 minutes. Apart from this, 40 goods trains are handled daily. All of this creates a bottleneck at the station and restricts WR from increasing frequency of suburban trains, thus necessitating the need for a terminus.
The new terminus is set to have four platforms, three stabling lines for outstation trains, a new terminus building. Premium trains, including a new proposed Rajdhani Express and 20 other passenger trains will originate and terminate at the terminus.
According to officials, the land required is likely to include private and government land. WR will also prepare estimated cost of the project. “The land acquisition survey will start from September and a proposal will be sent to the Railway Board,” said a senior WR official. Experts however have different opinions. “A terminus needs to be connected to all major highways and airports. This terminus will create confusion,” said Subodh Jain, former member of Railway Board. Urban planner Sulaksha Mahajan however said with the shift of the population northwards,” a junction at Vasai Road should be built to connect passengers from CR and Konkan railway”.
“It is an old demand. The terminus will improve punctuality of zonal Railways,” said Subash Gupta, president, Rail Yatri Parishad.