A broken pantograph on the main line of Central Railway on Friday morning triggered a massive protest by irate commuters, leading to a riot-like situation with policemen and motormen being injured and police vehicles vandalised.
As many as 134 services were cancelled during the chaos that lasted four hours, including the morning peak traffic hours, before the situation was brought under control by the Railway Police, the Railway Protection Force and the Thane Police working together.
While the protests and vandalism, mainly at Diva station about 35 km from Mumbai, are believed to have been incited by miscreants in the crowd, Central Railway commuters had a harrowing day with normal services being restored only a little after noon.
According to the Central Railway administration, the pantograph of the Badlapur-Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) slow train broke when the train was between Thakurli and Dombivali railway stations, around 6:50 am on Friday. As a result, power from the Over Head Equipment (OHE) was switched off between 6:50 am and 7:26 am, and up and down slow locals had to be diverted to the fast track between Kalyan and Diva from 7:25 am onwards.
Even as repair work was under way, commuters at Diva station, furious at the frequent incidents of services being suspended on the Central Railway due to equipment failure, staged an impromptu agitation by jumping off the platforms and sitting on the railway tracks. The protest had a domino effect on train services, which were delayed during the critical morning rush hours between 7.30 and 10 am.
Another commuter Jayesh Kanade said, “I had to go for my HSC prelimnary exams in Ghatkopar. But the delay in trains was so long that I missed my paper. I had to return back to Dombivali.”
Here are a few select tweets on MUMBAI LOCAL disruption: