It was the absence of a contingency plan for Central Railway's suburban section, which caters to over 37 lakh commuters a day, that paralysed a large swathe of the city for over two hours on Wednesday evening after the overhead equipment wire broke down at the yard near Chhatrpati Shivaji Terminus.
"I want to reach Sion from Dadar which is only two stations away, but am stuck here for more than an hour due to overcrowding on the platform. I cannot even leave the station as the foot over-bridges are jam-packed," said Mahalakshmi Iyer, a Sion resident.
Complaining about the lack of a plan to ensure functioning of services in crises, transport expert Jagdeep Desai said, "CR doesn't have any backup to ensure functioning of the railways whenever there is some crisis, be it the Kurla fire incident, the CST yard breakdown, or any similar case. Considering the number of passengers travelling on it, the system should have a backup."
Sharing the view, Madhu Kotian, president of Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh, said, "It was a disastrous situation as not only commuters between CST-Byculla, but those across the entire section were affected. The trains were not arriving to Mulund or beyond stations for hours. The railways should have a Plan B considering their vast network."
A CR press release stated: "Suburban, mail and express traffic on all lines between CST-Byculla and CST-Vadala was affected. Train services were run from Dadar back to Kalyan, Karjat, Kasara and Vadala, back to Andheri and Panvel.
"All slow services on the main and harbour line were restored at 6.45pm. The affected rake was cleared at 7.45pm. The fast line was restored at 8.15pm. About 50-60 suburban services are likely to be cancelled until midnight."