Frequent failures on the Central Railway (CR) suburban section, which result in delayed suburban trains during peak hours, resulted in the public agitation at Diva station on Friday.
Thousands of commuters blocked the tracks between 8.30am and 12pm at Diva station, after trains were diverted onto the fast track, following an overhead equipment (OHE) failure near Thakurli station on the slow corridor cross-over at 6.50am. All lines had to be switched off, and there was a long wait for restoration of power supply. While the fast corridor was restored at 7.30am, the Diva passengers broke out in revolt at 8.30am.
Passengers complained that for nearly two hours, there was no train at Diva, since all the slow trains were diverted onto fast tracks. This is the sixth major service disruption on the CR network in less than a month, and the eighth disruption on the city’s suburban network.
“Every time there is failure in the Thane-Kalyan section, passengers in Diva, Mumbra and Kalwa suffer the most, since we don’t have additional platforms to halt fast trains. For nearly two hours today, all trains were diverted on the fast tracks, and there was no halt at Diva. This resulted in public a outcry,” said Adesh Bhagat, general secretary, president of the Diva Railway Passenger Association.
For long, there has been a demand among Diva commuters for a Diva-CST train for peak hours, but the demand has not been addressed.
“We have been demanding a CST-Diva train for four years, since all trains from Kalyan, Dombivli are already crowded.,” said Aniket Ghamandi, a member of Mumbai Suburban Passengers Federation.
The failures on the Thane-Kalyan section are caused mostly by OHE unit failure or delay caused by the opening of level-crossing gates. “Senior citizens as well as children were forced to walk on the tracks around 8am,” said Nandu Vayal 33, a Shahad resident. Mukesh Nigam, divisional railway manager, CR, said, “It is not possible to start Diva-CST train until we have new rakes and the 5th and 6th lines are constructed.”