COMMUTERS travelling on the Harbor Line of Central Railway had a harrowing time Monday after suburban services on both up and down stretches remained suspended for almost 16 hours following the derailment of four coaches of a goods train early morning. Four wagons of a Mandoli-bound goods train derailed near Guru Tegh Bahadur Nagar railway station at 4.15 am leading to suspension of services between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and Kurla stations on the Harbour Line. The track correction work was completed later in the day.
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“After re-railing the wagons by 6 pm, the first train left from Kurla station towards CST at 7.59 pm. Services were resumed in the down direction also by 8.45 pm. Track repair work took time,” said a senior CR official.
CR General Manager D K Sharma, said, “The wagons derailed due to a defect in the tracks. We agree the derailment has cancelled many services and as majority of the population uses trains for travel, the issue has turned into a social problem. We have worked on a war footing to address the issue.”
Earlier in the day, Sharma said a team of 500 workers including senior CR officials were at the spot to address the issue. “We have permitted commuters to travel by other lines and asked Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) to run extra buses. We will try to resume services before evening peak hour,” he said.
By early evening, three of the four wagons were re-railed with authorities working to re-rail another wagon and a brake van. Lack of space and track difficulties added to the problems, said officials. “There was hardly any space around the spot leading to restricted movement of workers, which increased the time taken to re-rail coaches. More trains and material needed to be arranged at the spot to put the wagon back on track. The derailment also broke some portions of the track that had to be repaired,” said a senior CR official.
Services resumed after track alignment was done once the wagons were re-railed. Meanwhile, commuters complained of inconvenience owing to packed trains on other lines and because of the time taken to resume services. Passenger announcements only added to the confusion, they said.
“I travel from Nerul station to Kandivli for work. The services provided till Kurla were slow and I had to change train twice on both directions. I had to skip going to work today as taking any other mode of transport did not seem affordable,” said Pallavi Ramaswamy, a regular commuter on the Harbour Line.
“A female commuter complained of suffocation in my train due to crowd while we were heading to Kurla from Panvel. After I changed my train from Kurla, other trains on the main line were too crowded to be boarded. There was improper announcements…at Kurla station,” said Geeta Nagare, another commuter.
BEST ran 64 extra buses on 13 routes to cater to the rush. While 188 train services were cancelled, 142 special services were arranged by Central Railway during the day.