The Western Railway (WR) is planning to reduce the time gap between trains running from Virar to Borivli from five to three minutes.
This is one of the demands of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) who on Friday converted the 11.27 am Virar-Churchgate as ‘protesters-only-train’.
Carrying flags and billboards on Friday, they boarded the train.
About 2,000 people participated in the protest but it fizzled out when they tried to agitate in the train travelling towards Churchgate.
Their shouts were silenced due to the crowd of commuters inside the coaches of the 12-car train. Slogans were heard only at Virar and Churchgate stations. “We will continue our protests till our demands are met,” said Shailendra Kamble, secretary of DYFI.
Commuters shut the protestors up who were shouting slogans. “It’s already crowded. So don’t unnecessary shout,” said a commuter in a crowded second-class compartment at Borivli station.
Slogans were heard only when a train neared a station. The protestors got down at Churchgate station and assembled holding banners, flags and placards voicing their demands.
They were then taken to Azad Maidan in police vans. Around 4 pm, members of DYFI came to meet the general manager of WR, RN Verma but he was in Delhi, which resulted in brief altercation with the railway officials inside the building. “We asked them to submit a formal memorandum of demands to us which they weren’t carrying,” added the WR official.
The WR that runs 1,210 services everyday on the suburban section runs around 30% of its trains between Borivli and Virar. There are 19 pairs of passenger trains, including shuttle services, up to Dahanu. "We are bringing down the headway between Borivli and Virar to three minutes. At this stage we wouldn't be able to give a certain date when the headway would be reduced," said chief PRO, Sharat Chandrayan of WR.
After this, there is scope for them to even increase the services if needed, thus bringing further relief to the section.
“There are some problems pertaining to re-spacing of signals at certain stretches between Borivli-Virar, which are in the process of being rectified,” said a senior WR official on condition of anonymity.