The disruption of services on the Central Railway (CR) on Thursday, the second day in a row, claimed three lives, as desperate commuters hanging out of speeding over-crowded trains hit a portion of a signal post that had come loose and was tilting very close to the track.
The incident took place between Mulund and Nahur railway stations during the morning rush hour, around 9am, when the trains are packed. At least 20 other commuters sustained injuries and have been admitted to various hospitals in the city.
The three deceased are Pratik Dheeraj Chheda, 24, Jiten Suresh Vara, 29, and Ganesh-kumar Yadav, 20.
Commuters from three fast CST-bound locals were hit by the leaning post, the Government Railway Police officials said.
“My friends were standing on the footboard, but they were not leaning too far out of the train. A part of the signal post was too close to the train and their hands hit the pole. Thankfully, they didn’t fall off,” said Anupam Tiwari, 30, who rushed his friends to the hospital and called the police control room.
The GRP at Kurla have registered a case of negligence against the Central Railway, which is responsible for the maintenance of the signal post.
The accident took place as commuters on the central and harbour lines struggled through delays and cancellations of trains, caused by a fire in Kurla on Wednesday that led to the collapse of the signalling system between Ghatkopar and Sion.
On Thursday, the trains were running 45 to 60 minutes late. By evening, the Central Railway had cancelled 192 services and run 792 services.
With the city’s lifeline hit, Mumbaiites in the central suburbs had little option but to bring out their cars, and roads, especially the Eastern Express Highway, were severely clogged during the morning and evening peak hours. “We are hoping to run 95% of the services on Friday,” said Vidhyadhar Male-gaokar, chief PRO, CR.