Lakhs of train commuters endured a harrowing time on Tuesday, when just 110mm of rain washed away claims by the state government and railways that local trains were prepared for the monsoon this year. More than 300 Central Railway trains were cancelled and more than 400 were delayed in the first major downpour of the season.
Central Railway trains, which had been disrupted even during light pre-monsoon showers, were thrown into chaos on Tuesday; main and harbour line tracks were submerged at several places, including Mazgaon, Vidyavihar, Bhandup, Mankhurd and Thane. Suburban trains were suspended at 5.53am for more than an hour.
A host of technical issues such as signal failures, snags in track-changing points, and power-supply issues worsened the situation even as the flood began to recede.
Suburban services, which were running 30 to 40 minutes late in the morning, saw further delays because of these issues. This left lakhs of commuters stranded at various stations. The situation was particularly grim at major stations such as Thane, Dombivali and Kalyan. At Thane station, there were no trains on platform 1 because of a technical snag, which resulted in a crush on other platforms. The engine of the Konkan-bound Mandovi Express also suffered a technical snag around 9am at Dadar.
“Down (north-bound) fast line services are diverted on down slow line between CST and Mulund station and further on proper down fast line. Up (south-bound) fast line services are diverted on up slow line between Mulund and CST because of bunching of express trains,” read a CR press release.
Subhash Gupta, a passenger-activist, said, “The railways failed to manage the situation.” Activist, Vishwanath Dhatrak, said, “The CM and railway authorities had made tall claims, but the rains have washed these away.”