The World Heritage site building of Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus was, probably for the first such time, plunged into complete darkness at 11:55 am following a major power cut, bringing all activity to a grinding halt. The power cut affected railway bookings at 239 locations across entire western India for more than five hours on four major zones of Central Railway, Western Railway, West Central Railway and Konkan Railway. Work on the restoration of power was still underway at the time of going to the press.
No tickets could be booked, no train reservations and no office work. The crowds at local train booking counters went longer as tickets were issued in form of stamped coupons and ticket-fine receipt slips as season tickets for the entire day due to the power cut, which happened due a negligent JCB machine driver working on an adjoining road.
“There was road leveling work undertaken by the BMC going on at P D’Mello Road, when a JCB machine accidentally uprooted a 22 kv power relay cable, affecting the power supply,” Shriniwas Mudgerikar, CR’s chief PRO said.
Ticket collectors had set up counters to issue coupon booklets in bulk to all commuters to disperse crowds. Though the power cut happened at 11:55 pm, the reservation ticket counters were closed between 12:30 pm to 6:20 pm and the suburban and general tickets system was closed between 2:20 pm to 4:50 pm. Both these systems functioned for some time due to their back-up systems.
“Our priority was railway operations and the control room and other essential facilities like indicators were supplied power and train running remained normal,” Mudgerikar added.
Security cameras installed at Mumbai CST also went off during the power cut. The power cut also affected train charting and commuters were requested to manually check the status of their wait-listed tickets.
“I had come to buy a ticket for my family and was not able to do so. My entire day was wasted here. Railway officials told me that there was come computer problem and that bookings could not happen,” Sagar Parshad Mishra, a commuter who wanted to book a ticket of Gitanjali Express from Nagpur to Howrah junction.