COMMUTERS AT Jogeshwari railway station on the Western Railway (WR) are up in arms against railway officials after fast train services did not make a halt at the station in the morning rush hour on Tuesday, as per the new timetable. Commuters staged a “rail roko” protesting against the new suburban train timetable that came into effect from October 1. The new timetable has cancelled fast train services at Jogeshwari.
According to the previous timetable, six train services would halt at Jogeshwari station in the morning peak hours between 9 and 11 am. The new timetable has removed halts at all stations between Borivali and Andheri. Only south-bound slow train services would now cater to the morning rush.
“It is impossible to expect the crowd to fit into the limited slow train services available for us. These trains come packed all the way from Borivali and Goregaon and getting in at this station is next to impossible. I took a slow train and had to get down at Andheri as it was packed and I was on the verge of falling from the train,” Umang Savla, a regular commuter from Jogeshwari station said.
According to sources, commuters stopped train services for some time to express their anger over the issue. They approached the station master’s office to complain. “One cannot wait for a disaster to happen at this station. Considering the peak hour crowd in the morning hours here, fast trains must stop at this station,” Jitendra Vyas, another commuter at the station, said. Jogeshwari station witnesses an originating passenger count of 1,60,20 on a daily basis.
Earlier this year, officials from the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) had razed platform number one at the station for constructing an additional railway line to extend the western harbor line from Andheri to Goregaon station. Commuters have complained that this has resulted in more crowding on platform two and three — an island — at the station.
“Foot overbridges at Jogeshwari are hardly used by the commuters. The two bridges at either ends of the station are narrow. The one at the south end has at least 60 steps, which takes at least 10 minutes to climb in the rush hours. An alternative foot overbridge can be constructed in the middle to ease the crowd,” Bharat Kudkar, a commuter, said.
A senior WR official said: “The new timetable aims at adding services to help north-bound passengers travel with ease. The halt at Jogeshwari station was stopped to add more fast trains in the new timetable. Slow train services will also cater to the rush at the station.”