Harbour line speed plans open at Ballard Pier, decades after station shut

Over six decades after the Ballard Pier Mole railway station was shut down, the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) plans to start from there a fast-track corridor for Central Railway's harbour line. The plan will need the sanction of the state government and Railway Ministry, as well as the Mumbai Port Trust.

A fast-track corridor is not possible from CST, which is already congested. "We are studying the option of starting the line from Ballard Pier. The fast-track corridor would run parallel to P D'Mello Road. Since there is no space available on either side we have no option but to use Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) land," said an MRVC official.

The Ballard Pier Mole station belonged to the Bombay Port Trust. "It may not start from the location where the earlier station stood as hardly anything remains of the station," said an MRVC official.

The harbour line was started in the 1920s and train services ran between the Victoria Terminus and Kurla stations. As population increased and the government planned to make Navi Mumbai a residential and commercial hub, the harbour line was extended up to Panvel. The harbour line, however, does not have a fast track corridor unlike the main lines of Central Railway and Western Railway.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the Ballard Pier Mole station was a starting point for the Golden Temple Mail and the Frontier Mail. "The station was next to the port. Travellers from the UK and other western countries used to alight here. They would continue the journey to North India and Eastern India on these trains from the Mole station. By the 1940s, air travel became the preferred mode, and the station was shut in 1944," said a CR official.

The project needs MbPT approval as the corridor would come up on its land. "If the project gets sanction from the state and the Railway Ministry, then land acquisition becomes the responsibility of the government. It is the government that has been acquiring land for Mumbai Urban Transport Project schemes," the official said.

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