If you get stuck in a suburban train, you should be informed about the delay by an audio system that has been installed on it.
However, despite the fact that all trains have the requisite audio systems to inform commuters about delays or emergencies, the railways are reluctant to use them to make announcements. These systems have been in place for over 15 years.
"In the 1990s, all suburban trains were fitted with audio systems. Western Railway (WR) suburban trains have had a public announcement facility since 1997," said a senior railway official on the condition of anonymity.
Last month, a fire at a signal cabin in Kurla forced scores of commuters to spend a night in halted suburban trains. Often, commuters are have to spend long hours in trains in case of overhead wire problems, technical snags and signal or point failures, and are rarely told why their trains are not moving.
Train management system (TMS), which are used for day-to-day management have a feature of direct communication between the control room and train crew.
This has been operational on the WR for the past 10 years. "There is a provision of passing information to the train crew from control room," said Nitin Devid, PRO of WR. "In case of an emergency, guards make the necessary announcements in trains," he claimed.
Apart from this, both the Central and Western railways have given Close User Group (CUG) mobile phones to all motormen and guards so they can contact the control room any time.
In spite of these measures, commuters feel that they are not informed if there is a problem. "When we get stuck in train, we expect to know what the problem is and how long it will take to rectify it. We are never told in case something happens," said Meghan Patankar, a resident of Kalyan.