MORE THAN 300 essential service providers travelling by local train were stranded for over three hours between Byculla and CSMT on Wednesday evening as heavy rain and winds crippled operations in Mumbai. Trains came to a halt around 3.30 pm as water accumulated on tracks on the Central Railway (CR), while strong winds led to technical snags in overhead cables on the Western Railway (WR).
As the rain intensified, heavy waterlogging was reported from Sandhurst Road, Sion, Kurla, Wadala, and Chunabhatti on the CR due to which train operations on Harbour line between CSMT and Vashi were suspended at 3.30 pm. About 30 minutes later, at 4 pm, train operations on the main line between CSMT and Thane were also suspended. With water rising to between 2.5 and 3 feet, two trains heading in opposite directions were grounded at Masjid Bunder with close to 250 passengers in the Karjat-bound train and another 50 in the CSMT-bound train.
It was around 5.30 pm a message was received that a Karjat-bound train was stuck near Masjid Bunder station with three coaches of the 12-coach train still at the platform. A team of Railway Protection Force managed to rescue 150 passengers by 7 pm and then requested the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for assistance along with the Mumbai Fire Brigade.
Sachidanand Gawade, Deputy Commandant, 5th Battalion, NDRF, said his men deployed inflatable rafts to reach stranded passengers. Another 50 to 60 passengers were also on board another train bound for CSMT from Karjat, Gawade said. By 9 pm, all 250 passengers from the Karjat-bound train were brought to the station.
Shivaji Sutar, chief PRO of CR, said, “These passengers will be sent to shelter homes created by the state government.” Rescue work to remove another 50 passengers from the CSMT-bound train was also completed by 9.30 pm.
On the Western Railway (WR), a tree fell on the live overhead cables between Churchgate and Marine Lines around 3.30 pm, leading to train services getting suspended between Mumbai Central and Churchgate. In separate instances, a tin roof also hit overhead cables due to which services remain suspended throughout evening.
Sumit Thakur, chief PRO of WR, said, “The tree was cleared but with waterlogging reported in the entire section, resuming services was difficult and they remain suspended.”
The BEST had at least 33 buses stuck on waterlogged streets across the city.