Harbour Line

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Going to college has given me more insight into the 'Local trains'. So I'm going to write about them. Today I'll write about the Harbour Line.

I've travelled by it only once and it was not pleasant. Why was that so? Well it is said that the harbour line is considered as the '3rd child' of the 3 kids. Western line, Central line & Harbour line. Nobody cares about what the 3rd child is upto.

To give an opinion on it would be easy... And obvious.
It sucks. It looks bad. Whether it be inside or outside.

A photo I clicked on my travel.

Even though it travels beside the western line for a long distance, there is never any interaction. To prevent interaction, it preferred to build a bridge worth crores to fly over the western line then to cross through. This is ofcourse good from a management point of view. But anyone with common sense would also tell you that this looks like a hack.

Orange is harbour line. Duh.


Okay, let's do some actual critical analysis rather than just talking BS. But saying the line has seen better days would be a lie. Above is an image of the route map. I would divide the harbour line into 3 sections. Up (Goregaon to Vadala Road), Down (Vadala Road to CSMT) & Right (Panvel to Vadala Road).

Let's see the Down section. It runs parallel to the central line and crosses over near CST. It is said it helps the people who live there to get easy rail access. People from different places can also reach CST area easily. But I have to ask the question... is this really required? I mean, you can just use the central line to reach the harbour. And also it seems very wasteful to create a whole rail line for this simple job. These days such jobs are taken care of by metro lines.

Let's talk about the Up section. I consider this worse than the Down section. the whole line runs parallel to the western line. But noone would actually use it to travel in the Up section because the western line already exists! It just takes up valuable space which could have been used by the western line to increase bandwidth. Why would no one use the Up section? Because of the elephant in the room. The whole line is a SLOW line. There is one track UP & one DOWN which makes it impossible to run fast trains. There is also no space to double the lines which means it will ALWAYS be a slow line. If it was a fast line atleast 20% of the travel time could be saved. And the people know that. Hence they don't use it. This section only serves as a very bad redudancy measure.

The Right section is the only redeeming aspect of the harbour line. it connects places not easily accessible. Also the bridge between Vashi and Mankhurd makes connectivity alot better for everyone. I haven't actually travelled on this length of track so cannot say much more.

Since there are 3 parts, how is the inter-connectivity?
Well, You can go from Up to Down and from Right to Down. Meaning Goregaon to CSMT travel is possible and Panvel to CSMT travel is also possible. But you cannot go from Goregaon to panvel. Heck, you can't go from Bandra to Kurla. You'd have to switch train at Vadala Road.

Vadala Road is the center hub of the harbour line. It connects all the 3 sections together. It is necessary since you can't have an Up to Right trains. You have to get off to change. This makes Up to Right connectivity poor.


My analysis for the UP, DOWN & RIGHT sections of the track has to be taken with the fact that there will never be a fast line. This is due to the reason that there is no space near the harbour line to extend the area to add two more tracks. Hence the harbour line will always be considered as a crappy line. With its main use being helping people who live at Panvel to reach South Bombay. This is very useful to people who live at panvel that I cannot disagree. But it's still pretty crappy. And don't forget that the rest of the line is not that useful at all. This can be seen clearly if you goto Goregaon. The starting train starts off almost all empty. You can easily get a seat in this section at any time. Which is ofcourse unheard of anywhere else. (I have not even covered things like a lack of a proper budget, derailments, rail fractures, etc so that needs to be kept in mind too)

This compartment was completely empty.


Well, I have a RADICAL idea to atleast try to fix the issue. We take the Up section from Goregaon to Bandra and reintegrate it into the western line. This would increase the bandwidth there and create actual redudancy. We keep the Right section intact from panvel till kurla.
What about the rest of the track? We Demolish it. We build a Metro line over it. Since it was gonna be a crappy slow train line anyways, why not convert it into a Metro? It would start at Bandra and goto Vadala road and end at CSMT. the other side would start at Kurla and end at CSMT. I would consider this as a good metro line.
Is it possible? I don't know. Is it feasible? I don't know. Will something like this actually be done? uhhhhhh maybe? But for now, it is just a pipedream.

Harbour Line | Wikipedia
Maharashtra Mumbai Metro Corporation Limited
Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority
If you spot very carefully, there is a man at the last seat.
Mumbai Metro Line 11 | Something related