Train surfing stunt performances, especially those popularised through films, have been on the decline in Mumbai’s local trains, with cases of roof-top stunts dropping by 24 per cent in 2014 as compared to last year.
Train surfing entails traveling on roof-tops or on the body of the train and stunts involving hanging by windows.
Between January 1 and July 28 this year, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) of Central Railway (CR) registered 1,591 cases under section 156 (roof-top travel) of the Railways Act. In comparison, for the same period in 2013, the RPF registered 2,090 cases against train surfers.
“Intensive campaigns in schools, colleges and in passenger areas along with posters and banners have helped to bring down the number of cases. Awareness about the ongoing work of traction conversion too has played a role in reducing the number of cases,” said Alok Bohra, senior Divisional Security Commissioner, RPF, CR (Mumbai division).
Harbour line of Central Railway (CR) is most notorious for such stunts, with a large number of cases reported on the line powered by Direct Current (DC). The stretch between Vashi and Wadala is most vulnerable, with people between 12 to 30 often indulging in train surfing stunts.
While the traction conversion on the main line of CR is to be completed by December 2014, the switch over on the Harbour line will be done next year.
According to railway officers, traction conversion is the chief reason behind drop in cases of roof top travel on Western Railway (WR) where the entire suburban section is powered by Alternating Current (AC).
WR switched over from 1,500 volt DC to 25,000 volt AC in 2012, following which repeated campaigns were conducted as the new traction results in death due to electrocution in most cases of train surfing.
Sharat Chandrayan, Chief Public Relations Officer, WR, said, “There are very few cases of train surfing reported now on WR as people are aware of the danger of traveling on the roof of the train, especially since the overhead wires are charged with 25,000 volt AC.”
According to the officer, earlier, commuters would take risks as overhead wires charged with DC traction would injure passengers only if touched. However, in case of AC traction, a person can get injured even if one is close to the wire.