Mumbai, often referred to as the “City of Dreams,” is known for its bustling daily life. But, for the next 22 days, the routine of thousands of commuters will be thrown into disarray. The Central Railway (CR) has announced an extension of the night mega block on the Harbour Line. This block will affect the daily commute of passengers traveling on the CSMT-Panvel Harbour and Thane-Panvel Trans Harbour rail networks.
Starting from September 11, passengers will face a significant disruption in their daily commute. Early morning and late-night train services will be unavailable until October 2. Previously, the mega block lasted for a relatively short two hours. Now, it will stretch for a taxing five hours every night, from 12:30 am to 5:30 am.
37 Train Services Affected
The impact of this change will be felt by a total of 37 train services. The last local train departing from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) for Panvel, usually scheduled for 10:58 pm, will be the final lifeline. Trains departing from CSMT at 11:14 pm, 12:24 am, 5:18 am, and 6:40 am have all been canceled until October 2. Additionally, some trains will be abruptly terminated at Belapur station instead of reaching Panvel, adding further inconvenience for commuters.
This unexpected extension of the mega block has left many commuters frustrated. They now find it challenging to reach their workplaces in the early morning. Furthermore, traveling from Belapur to Panvel poses additional challenges, as auto-rickshaws tend to charge exorbitant fares for the relatively short distance.
The Reason Behind the Extended Mega Block
The rationale behind this extended mega block is the ongoing construction of the Dadri-JNPT western dedicated freight corridor, which will pass through Panvel railway station. The project commenced on August 18 and involved night blocks lasting for 2-3 hours at Panvel station and yard. To meet the October 2 deadline for the Panvel segment, the block time had to be increased. Railway officials have stated that approximately 70% of the work on the entire 1,506 km corridor, starting from Dadri in Delhi, has already been completed.
A Push for Progress
As a result, 24 train services on the CSMT-Panvel Harbour corridor and 13 services on the Thane-Panvel Trans Harbour network will be canceled or short-terminated. The Central Railway is committed to completing the ambitious dedicated freight corridors, which aim to facilitate faster movement of freight trains and boost the economy. The Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) between Ludhiana and Sonnagar, covering a length of 1,337 km, is already 85% complete. However, the Dadri-JNPT Western Corridor, spanning 1,506 km, is lagging behind, with only 70% of the work finished thus far. Despite the completion of over 1 lakh goods and freight trains on the sections already finished, there is still a significant amount of work remaining.
Mumbai’s commuters may be facing temporary disruptions, but the long-term goal is to enhance transportation infrastructure for the benefit of the entire nation. Until then, they must navigate these challenges with patience and adaptability.