A technical snag in a signalling panel at Dadar led to the cancellation of 18 suburban services during the peak hour on Wednesday, causing delays on the central railway that lasted till noon. Many commuters who got stuck in the morning said they reached their workplaces at least half an hour late.
CR authorities said trains ran at least 25 to 30 minutes late, but passengers insisted it was more than half an hour.
“The slow train scheduled to arrive at 7.18am at Parel reached at round 7.55am,” said VS Shewale, a Parel resident.
The problem began at around 6.45am when all the signals at Dadar station turned red as the panel controlling them went out of order. The snag affected all four railway lines, including the fast corridors.
“Due to the panel lock, all the signals turned red and at the same time crossover points also became non-functional. So there was no scope for diversion of trains to other lines,” said Vidhyadhar Malegaokar, chief public relations officer, CR.
The CR had to cancel 18 suburban services during the peak hour. Services on up fast lines were badly affected as signal and crossover points became non-functional. Trains on the other three lines, including the up slow line, were running cautiously, on the ‘A’ marker.
“In the ‘A’ marker condition, motormen take trains forward, though there is a red signal, after stopping for one minute during day time and two minutes in the night. Trains on all three lines except the up fast line were running with this caution,” said a railway source.
The signal panel was repaired by around 8.15 am. Trains ran slow between Kurla and CST, and there was bunching between Byculla and CST.
“Generally, it takes 15-30 minutes to rectify the signal failure. But surprisingly it took around one and a half hours,” said a CR official.
CR daily operates around 1500 suburban services and in morning peak it operates trains every 3-4 minutes. Every packed 12-car train carries more then 4500 commuters in the morning peak hour.