Two days after heavy rain caused major disruptions to the Central Railway suburban trains network, Divisional General Manager S K Jain on Friday blamed the India Meteorological Department for a wrong forecast and the media for not standing by CR, but also conceded that CR had failed to communicate with commuters in a timely manner about the situation on the tracks.
In a rare media interaction on Friday, he said that the decision to implement the Sunday timetable with reduced services on July 3 was “an informed decision” based on the IMD forecast of heavy rain of four hours.
“Given that there was already 300 mm of rain and it took until 1600 hours for the water to recede (on Tuesday), what could we have planned,” he asked. He said water was backflowing from the Mithi river and Kala Nagar nallah, which had severely affected the Sion to Kurla stretch, and water from the tracks started receding only when the water in the nallah started flowing out to the Mithi river.
“It is our fault that we do not have a 24×7 communication system, and that we could be in touch with commuters who were stuck in trains at 18 different locations, for which we are going to use social media like Twitter and Facebook like Western Railways,” he said.
He also said it had been decided to instal GPS on all trains on CR’s main and harbour lines. On July 1 and July 2, CR services were shut for 16 hours and more than 18 trains on the line were stuck at different locations. Thousands of commuters stranded in these trains were in a state of panic as they had no clue when their trains would resume, and CR had no way of communicating with them.
Jain said the GPS systems would be installed before August 15. The system would be connected to an app like M-Indicator which has the timetable of suburban trains, and will also be linked to the control room, the motorman and guard. CR will also install a public announcement system in local trains in guard cabin or in the motorman cabin, though this may take a little longer to implement officials said