Thick smog, a mixture of fog and pollutants, at various parts of Thane district disrupted railway services on Saturday morning. It was third consecutive day that suburban services were disrupted during the morning peak hours. On Thursday, a rail fracture between Wadala and Sewari on the Harbour line disrupted services, while on Friday a derailed wagon caused delays.
Suburban services on the Western Railway ran up to 30 minutes late on Saturday, while main-line services on the Central Railway were also affected by poor pre-dawn visibility at several places.
The smog also delayed the arrival of several long-distance trains. According to a WR source, most outstation trains arrived 15 to 40 minutes late.
“Generally, the weather is foggy beyond Thane creek during winter. As for today, the fog cover was very thick and visibility was affected considerably, making it difficult to operate trains at normal speed,” said a WR official, who did not wish to be named.
“The smog was spread across several areas, which is unusual,” said Shailendra Kumar, divisional railway manager with WR. According to a railway source, Saphale-Vaitarna, Vapi and Surat saw foggy weather from 2am to 9am on Saturday. It was thickest in the Vaitarna-Saphale belt.
A railway source said though limited suburban services were being run between Virar and Dahanu, the worst-affected areas, the entire suburban timetable was thrown off schedule by the late arrival of outstation trains.
Railway officials claimed there were frequent announcements at railway stations to keep passengers informed about the delays. Passengers, however, complained that trains ran late until noon and that stations were jam-packed.
Central Railway services also ran 10 to 15 minutes late, and officials blamed the delays on smog between Diva and Kopar, besides few locations beyond Kalyan station.
Meanwhile, according to sources, a technical fault near Mahim railway station around 1pm also disrupted suburban services on the western line. However, railway officials did not confirm it.