Suburban services on the Western Railway were restored on Monday morning, almost 24 hours after a freak accident in which a train hit the buffer at Churchgate station and ran onto the platform.
Railway minister Suresh Prabhu announced a probe into the mishap through a tweet on Monday, inviting flak from commuters and political leaders.
Five people sustained injuries and 80 services had to be cancelled after the accident at 11.20am on Sunday. While the WR claimed it removed the damaged coach and restored train operations at 10.30am, commuters said the services began only about 11.15am.
“After continuous efforts all night long, the coach was removed from the station by 7.30am on Monday. The platform and the damaged overhead wire were repaired, and operations were re-started on platform number 3 at around 10.30am,” said a WR spokesperson.
Meanwhile, Prabhu has come under criticism for reacting late to the accident and not visiting the station. “Ordered enquiry of the freak accident at Churchgate. All lapses of any kind of responsibility will be fixed, action will be taken (sic),” he tweeted at 8.30am.
“If it takes 22 hours for the railway minister to announce a probe, we can see how much Prabhu’s railway is lagging behind,” said Sachin Sawant, Congress leader.
Commuters, too, were irked.“The minister was attending a function when the mishap took place. He could have visited the spot, but did not. This shows how concerned he is about Mumbaiites,” said Subhash Gupta, president of Yatri Sangh.
The WR ordered an inquiry on Sunday. “All aspects, such as the train’s maintenance record, history of the driver and the guard, will be looked into,” said Sharat Chandrayan, chief PRO, adding the report will come in 10 days.