In a rarest of rare case, two coaches of a speeding CST-bound fast local separated as the train was approaching Parsik tunnel near Mumbra station early Sunday morning.
While commuters on board the train escaped unhurt, the accident had a rippling effect on local train services leading to inconvenience to other passengers during the day.
The incident occurred at 8.02am when the CST-bound Kasara local near Mumbra approached the Parsik tunnel. The 5th and 6th coaches got detached from each other. This is the third such incident on the Mumbai suburban railway in the last two years. In 2014, a similar incident was reported near Diva station because of a broken coupling system.
Post the decoupling, the train immediately came to a standstill leaving a narrow space between the separated coaches. A senior railway official said in this case, the coupling system – that connects the two coaches – did not break. A maintenance lapse was the most-probable reason behind the incident.
It took two hours for the railway authorities to remove the rake from the tracks. Until then, three other local trains were stuck behind the train and services on the fast line were diverted to the slow tracks, adding to commuters Sunday woes, when authorities operate less number of services besides conducting a mega block.
To avoid further strain on the commuters, the CR cancelled the scheduled four-hour-long mega block on the north-bound slow track between Thane and Kalyan stations. But commuters complained that trains were running 20 to 30 minutes late and trains as well as stations were overcrowded.
Besides the main line there was block on the Harbour line between CST-Chunabhatti and Wadala-Mahim stations. As CR authorities cancelled the mega block on the main line, the Harbour line commuters did not get any relief and faced a lot of inconvenience because of the disrupted services.
AK Singh, the public relations officer of CR, said the affected local was CST-bound Siemens rake (procured under the Mumbai Urban Transformation Project-I) that departed from Kasara station in the morning and a departmental probe has been called.
On the basis of a preliminary inquiry, the railway authorities have ruled out speeding as the reason for decoupling pointing out that there was a speed restriction of 50kmph at Parsik tunnel, instead of 100 kmph. They also ruled out chances of derailment in such a case. According to railway officials, in decoupling there is less chance of derailment unless there is some obstacle on the tracks.
Railway officials said train separation is common in case of goods train while rare in passenger trains, particularly suburban trains. “After decoupling (parting of train) air pressure drops, due to which train immediately comes to halt,” he said, adding that it also considered as serious mishap.
A few students said they weren’t allowed to appear for the National Eligibility Test (NET) at an examination centre in Mankhurd, as they couldn’t reach on time because of delayed train services. “I left my home in Thane around 7.30am but the trains took a long time to reach Mankhurd. I reached the exam centre 10 minutes late,” said Amol Bachhav, a candidate.
Bachhav added that the centre in-charge refused to allow him and five other students to appear for the test despite repeated pleas and instead “pushed” him out of the centre. The candidates will now have to wait for six months to appear for the NET.