Stray incidents like roof-top traveling, night soil, chain pulling, unclaimed articles and hoax calls severely affect the running of Mumbai's suburban local trains and led to the cancellation of as many as 1,500 and delay to 4,500 trains during 2006. Trespassing on tracks and miscreant chain-pulling tops the list of such incidents.
"Stray incidents like chain pulling, crossing tracks, defacing in trains, hoax calls, unclaimed articles do affect the punctuality of suburban local trains and the railways do not have control over such incidents. Problems due to such incidents amounts to more than 50 per cent of the total reasons of delays, detentions and cancellations of local trains in Mumbai. The co-operation is expected from the general public to avoid such instances," Mumbai divisional railway manager Satya Prakash told HT.
More that 50 per cent of train delays and cancellations on WR Mumbai are due to such stray reasons that can be completely avoided if the general public co-operates. The Western Railway runs 1,042 services and ferries 30.46 lakh passengers every single day.
"When a chain of a running train is pulled, we have to stop the train to check what is wrong with passengers. It could be anything and we cannot take risk. But once a train stops, it leads to the collapse of the entire timetable and is bound to have a cascading effect," Prakash said.
"Take the case of December. In December, there were 41 instances of chain pulling, three of roof top traveling a few miscreant activity and damage to cables. All this led to the cancellation of 14 trains and delay to as many as 530 trains. This takes a toll on passengers as it affects everyone," he added.
Railway sources said there have been instances when roof-top travelers or those traveling in fast local trains pull chain to halt a train at a station of their choice during the peak hour traffic.