The derailment of seven coaches of a Churchgate-bound local train at Vile Parle on Tuesday stranded thousands of commuters who had to struggle to board overcrowded buses. There were long traffic snarls across the western suburbs until well past evening rush hour. Commuters waiting at stations spilled onto the roads putting pressure on road transport.
Western Railway officials said 130 train services were cancelled due to the derailment. Downline services were restored late in the evening.
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It was a chaotic afternoon for commuters travelling either on up and down lines between Churchgate and Virar.
Mahesh Nair (24), an eyewitness said, “The motorman applied brakes when he noticed something wrong and that is why it did not lead to a major tragedy. The train was overcrowded and when the train stopped, people started shouting that compartments have fallen down. Everyone got down to see and we noticed that 7 coaches were derailed.”
“Commuters jumped out and no one waited for the rescue team. It would have caused injury but they took the chance fearing a threat to their life,” added Nair.
“I was at the bridge waiting for my business partner and we were to go to Bandra for a meeting. We were stuck at Vile Parle for more than an hour. The worst part of any technical fault is there are no announcements to inform commuters… we left by autorickshaw to Bandra,” added Nair.
Thousands who travel in the Western Railway between Churchgate and Virar faced similar chaos. Trains that operated were overcrowded. Commuters said though BEST ran bus services between Andheri and Vile Parle after the derailment, the roads were jammed as commuters rushed to their destinations by autorickshaws or taxis.
Aviral Pandey (26), who was outside Santacruz station, said, “I h”have been waiting for two hours and there is no slow or fast train towards Borivili. My office is in Kandivali and I am in the marketing section. We cannot afford delays in meetings so I went outside to take an autorickshaw. He asked for Rs 1000 and I came back to the station.”