ALMOST 163 local train services were cancelled and many delayed on Central Railway after five coaches of a Kurla-Ambernath local train derailed near Vitthalwadi station at 5.53 on Thursday morning. While no passenger was injured, services in the down direction beyond Karjat station were suspended till evening.
Five coaches of the Kurla-Ambarnath local derailed on the down line between Kalyan and Vithalwadi stations between Kalyan-Karjat section of Central Railway. It resulted in disruption of train services between the sections while the up services resumed by noon.
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“Shuttle train services were run between Ambarnath and Karjat stations. The services were running between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)-Kalyan/Kasara stations as usual. Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation (KDMC) was requested to run fifteen special buses between Kalyan and Ambarnath and eleven buses between Kalyan and Badlapur,” an official spokesperson from CR said.
Officials said that the train, coaches of which got derailed, had few passengers. “The trains did not see many passengers as it was a north-bound train in the wee morning hours.Inquiries post the accident showed that no one was hurt,” an official said.
The first south-bound train passed the site at 9.23 am. Services resumed post 10 on the Up direction, officials said. Also, four long distance trains were cancelled, eleven services were diverted in the Down direction and eight in the Up direction.
“The derailment was the result of a rail fracture of tracks. The coaches were re-railed by noon and the track was declared safe for usage by 4.30 pm. First special local from Kalyan to Karjat left at 4.42 pm. Evening peak services are expected to be normal considering safety checks are through,” an official added.
Meanwhile, many commuters were stranded and had to reschedule their journey on account of the derailment. Morning services saw extreme rush resulting in overcrowding, and commuters complained. “I was at Shahad station in the morning to catch my 8.04 am local to Dadar station. Not only did the train arrive late, it was so crowded that it became difficult to breath inside the coach,” said Shivanand Joshi, a commuter.
“I wanted to board the Deccan Queen to come to Mumbai and waited for its arrival till 6.30 am. At 6.45 am we were told it was cancelled so I had to re-plan my trip by road and it took me five hours to reach Mumbai. The train could have been diverted for commuters’ convenience if better planning was done,” said Jatin Bhavsar, commuter, Pune station.
In the past three months, CR witnessed more than 20 rail fractures causing delays in services. While authorities claim this was a regular process during winters, activists blame it on lack of effective monitoring of tracks.
“The railways observe mega blocks on Sundays for maintenance of tracks. However, commuters are witnessing problems on a regular basis due to repeated occurrences of such incidents. Instead of increasing fares, they must look at giving us safe and timely services,” said a railway activist who did not want to be named.