Railway commuters harried by Wednesday’s disruption that saw delays and cancellations on the Harbour line during peak hour, will not be too happy to know that a crow was to blame for their plight.
Rahul Jain, divisional railway manager of CR’s Mumbai Division, said, “At Vashi, a crow came into contact with a live wire in the overhead structure. As a result, the entire system tripped and flashed, causing the insulator to break into pieces. This happened despite non-toxic bird repellent gel being applied on the wires and bird spikes and anti-
nesting equipment being installed to keep birds away.”
This is the third time that the birds have been responsible for the overhead wire snapping. On April 23, a crow on the overhead wire caused it to trip and snap at Reay Road, and at Dadar station on February 6.
Because of the mishap, suburban services on the Harbour line between Vashi and Mankhurd stations had stopped for more than 20 minutes. Also, it took around 45 minutes for the problem to be rectified and even then services ran 20-25 minutes late putting commuters through a lot of trouble.
What has resulted from the confusion, however, is that the railways have now embarked on a cleanliness drive along certain stretches of the Harbour line from Thursday.
CR officials said they found that because of the nesting season many birds built nests on overhead wire portals. This is because there is easy access to food, in the form of garbage, thrown on the tracks close by.
“We have asked our officials to deploy as many staff as they need and clean the tracks as soon as possible,” Jain said.
Every year, both the WR and CR spend around Rs. 20 lakh keeping birds away from the particular portion of the overhead wire equipment.