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Big news for Mumbai suburban railways travellers! In order to increase the frequency of Mumbai suburban train services, Indian Railways is planning to come up with a new signalling technology that will reduce the gap between two trains.

The signalling technology, known as Communication Based Train Control (CBTC), will maximize the frequency of train services every hour, from 16 at present to 24. At present, the signalling technology, CBTC is used in operating the Delhi and Mumbai Metro rail services. Compared to 3 to 3.6 minutes at present, under this technology, train services would be available every 2.5 to 2.75 minutes, therefore, reducing the gap between two train services, according to an IE report.

The technology has been introduced under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project III by the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC). Last week, A Detailed Project Report (DPR) was sent to the Railway Board. The report mentioned that the total cost of the project is Rs 5,927 crore. According to a senior railway official, the technology used by Mumbai suburban railway at present is a fixed block that makes use of red color, yellow color, orange color and green color, for movement and stoppage of the local train running. The technology CBTC is an automatic technology, which is used to calculate the speed and braking distance, the senior official said. Therefore, the distance of the preceding train could be judged by the technology in the train and it will allow the train to adjust the position, accordingly ensuring safety, he added.

Mumbai, where ridership far outstrips available capacity, the technology is likely to improve the suburban train services. As per the records, the number of suburban passengers travelling on local trains increased from 27 million in 2015-16 to 28 million in 2016-17. However, the number of local train services on Central as well as on Western Railways remained 2,873.

An official said that railways is planning to implement CBTC on the harbour line of Central Railways first. At present, the headway on the harbour line of Central Railways is 3.5 minutes, he said. Between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and Panvel, 15 trains operate every hour on this line, he added. He also said that the number could be increased to 24 after the implementation of the technology.

According to MRVC, over the next four years, with the help of this technology, the passenger density will be reduced from 5,400 passengers per 12-car train to 4,800 passengers. On an average every day, Mumbai suburban railways witness 10 deaths, mostly due to people falling from overcrowded local trains.

According to a senior railway official, the technology can be easily overlaid on the existing system. He said that the existing railway traffic would not be affected and also the operational safety would be ensured. The project will be carried out in two phases, he added.

Last modified on Tuesday, 08 May 2018

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