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Friday, December 04, 2020

Mumbai: Reduced services, better preparation allow Railways to run smooth services

As per existing rules, the protocol for moving on waterlogged tracks entails the motorman to halt the train for a full minute before moving ahead at a restricted, much slower speed.

Written by Iram Siddique | Mumbai | July 17, 2020 1:57:58 am
covid in mumbai, mumbai rainfall, mumbai local trains, mumbai water logging, mumbai local trains service, mumbai local trains reduced service, indian express news In spite of the heavy downpour in parts of Mumbai this week, trains have managed to run without delays despite mild waterlogging on chronic spots. (File)

One of the rare upside of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the glitch-free service that the suburban railway network has managed to offer to commuters who are allowed to use its service.

In spite of the heavy downpour in parts of Mumbai this week, trains have managed to run without delays despite mild waterlogging on chronic spots.

One of the major reasons for delays on the suburban lines during a heavy downpour would be waterlogged tracks.

As per existing rules, the protocol for moving on waterlogged tracks entails the motorman to halt the train for a full minute before moving ahead at a restricted, much slower speed.

During normal days, when suburban trains move at an average frequency of two minutes, it would cause a cascading effect on trains, leading to several getting delayed and then hundreds getting cancelled.
However, at present both Central Railway (CR) and Western Railway (WR) are operating only a fraction of its total services. While CR is operating 352 trains, which is about 20 per cent of its earlier capacity of 1,774 trains, WR is running 352 services (25 per cent) against its 1,367 trains.

This, an official pointed, has led to trains moving at a frequency of 15 minutes, due to which, even if it gets held up due to equipment failure or waterlogging, it does not have a cascading impact on the other trains.

Even as fewer trains are allowing the services to be smooth, both CR and WR have reported lower levels of waterlogging across the suburban network. Chief PRO of WR, Sumit Thankur, said, “With several location-specific interventions, the impact of rainfall on suburban local system has been greatly reduced.”

The WR, having identified problematic locations, has created additional culverts over 10 km to 12 km long drains in yards and lifted tracks at 15 locations to mitigate waterlogging.

The CR, on its part, has put up at least 143 high voltage water pumps on its 17 critical flood-prone locations, along with adding pipelines with micro tunneling at Kurla and Vidyavihar for smooth discharge of water. It has also undertaken exhaustive cleaning of nullas with special focus on drains near Ghatkopar, Kanjurmarg and Vikroli.

“Taking advantage of the lockdown, we have completed various works like desilting of drains, culvert and nallah cleaning as well as box pushing at vulnerable locations to increase the waterway capacity in avoiding waterlogging on tracks,” said Shivaji Sutar, Chief PRO of CR.

While services have been smooth so far, it remains to be seen if these measures will
enable Railways to wade through, as rains intensify in the coming months.

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