Check CR local status online in a month

Central Railway commuters will be able to track real-time location of trains across the suburban network on a dedicated website——or the pan-India train inquiry number 139 within a month. The information will help commuters alter their travel plans if there is a delay in or cancellation of a preferred service.

The project, which is nearing completion, will come as a relief to lakhs of CR commuters. The CR suburban network operates around 1,618 services per day on all its three lines—main, harbour as well as trans-harbour.

Commuters will not just be able to track a train’s exact location but also the preceding and following two stations.

It is the Control Office Application (COA) that currently monitors the movement of long-distance trains across the country in real time through a computer-aided interface. It was developed by the Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS)—the information technology arm of Indian Railways. The COA enables passengers to track the movement of both scheduled and unscheduled trains on the website or on 139.

CR divisional general manager Mukesh Nigam said, “Till now, one can only track the movement of long-distance trains because the suburban network is not completely integrated with the COA.”

Nigam further said he was keen on this integration to capitalize on the use of mobile phones. Moreover, in a busy city such as Mumbai, commuters would benefit from updated information on trains, he said.

The suburban network is a challenging task, Nigam said, as certain stretches run on four corridors while long-distance trains operate on two. The average frequency of services on the main line is f our minutes and harbour line five minutes.

Eyeing revenue, railways starts spade work to develop land in Mumbai

The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) has begun a survey to find out how portions of land owned by the railways on the city’s suburban network can be commercially developed.

The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) has begun a survey to find out how portions of land owned by the railways on the city’s suburban network can be commercially developed.

The study would not only assess the market situation for development but also the impact it would have on the existing infrastructure like roads and underground utilities.

The survey, called the ‘best use option’ study, is expected to take six to seven months to be completed because its scope is extensive, said officials.

The first five plots the MRVC is looking at are in Mulund (West), Bhandup (East), Thane, Chinchpokli and Currey Road.The railways has almost 430 million square metres of land across the country. The officials said the survey is being conducted as the railway ministry is considering the view that the railways must commercially exploit its land to gets its dismal balance sheets back in the black.

“It is a desperate situation for the railways. It needs to run more trains every year because of the annual rise in passengers. Many of these run on diesel which is bleeding the railways. Second, staff salaries continue to rise. In such a situation, looking at commercially exploiting land instead of allowing them to get encroached due to lack of activity is important,” said an official.

Central Railway alone has some 4.7 lakh square metres of land either encroached or under litigation in Mumbai.

Officials said the survey is looking at Central Railway areas because the Western Railway lands are being locked in for the elevated corridor between Oval Maidan-Churchgate-Virar.

“The elevated corridor project would require commercial development of land to allow the private participant to recover costs. So around 1.4 million sqft of railway land between Churchgate and Virar are being held back as part of the elevated corridor calculations,” said an official.

CR begins steel fencing at 7 stations

Central Railway (CR) has started work on putting up steel fences at seven places, of the total 38 stations across its suburban network, to prevent people from crossing the tracks.

A CR spokesperson said: “Work is in progress at Byculla, Parel, Dadar, Reay Road, Sewri, Wadala Road and King’s Circle stations. So far, 1000 m of fencing has been provided.”

CR plans to instal 7,000 m of fencing at 14 stations on the Main line between Mumbai CST and Kalyan, 10 between CST and Mankhurd, eight between Kalyan and Karjat and at six more location between Kalyan and Kasara.

A CR official said: “The locations were selected after identifying spots where trespassing was rampant.” The work is being carried out in phases and all the stations on the list are likely to be covered by October.

TOI had reported in September 2011 that CR planned to start the project as part of its measures to curb trespassing.