Western Railway local train services were thrown off gear Saturday with 60 trains getting cancelled during the morning peak hours after commuters at Naigaon station on the outskirts of Mumbai staged a rail roko demanding two new services.
Virar-Vasai-Naigaon is a crowded belt as thousands of commuters take trains everyday from these places towards Mumbai and its suburbs. According to senior officials of the Western Railway (WR), around 60 people blocked the tracks in front of Churchgate-bound slow and fast trains between 8.05 am and 9.15 am, demanding additional services between Vasai Road and Andheri on Saturdays.
“Services were restored by 9.15 am, after the crowd was dispersed with the help of Railway Protection Force and Government Railway Police and City police,” an official statement of the WR read. The WR had introduced a new train timetable from October 1 that sees an increase in services of trains starting from Naigaon. However, during weekends, there is a dip in services for maintenance of rakes.
“It is pertinent to mention that in the new suburban time – table introduced on October 1 , there has been an increase of services from 436 to 466 services at Naigaon on weekdays. And, there are 436 services on Saturdays, as 2 rakes of 15 car are withdrawn for maintenance for safe and punctual train operations. Thus there is no drop in the total number of services at Naigaon on Saturdays, in spite of withdrawal of 15 car services for maintenance purpose,” an official statement from the WR said.
“The reaction of the commuters is uncalled for as efforts have been made to increase the services . People cannot hold trains to ransom with such demands. Stopping trains without prior notice or having a discussion with the administration causes a lot of inconvenience to the railways as well as the general public,” said Ravinder Bhaker, Chief Public Relations officer, WR.