While 1,116 people died and 878 others suffered injuries on the suburban railway lines last year, 2,691 people lost their lives in 2019. (Hindustan Times)
While 1,116 people died and 878 others suffered injuries on the suburban railway lines last year, 2,691 people lost their lives in 2019. (Hindustan Times)

Lockdown effect: Deaths on Mumbai’s railway tracks down by 65℅ in 2020

megha
By Megha Sood, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 11:28 PM IST

megha.sood@htlive.com

The deaths on Mumbai’s railway tracks declined by 65% in 2020, as compared to year before that, owing to the restrictions imposed on traveling on the suburban railway network amid the lockdown.

While 1,116 people died and 878 others suffered injuries on the suburban railway lines last year, 2,691 people lost their lives in 2019. The year had also witnessed 3,194 injuries. Data from Government Railway Police (GRP) reveals that of the 1,116 people who died in 2020, 983 were men, while 133 were women.

According to the railways, around 6.5 million people travelled on locals in 2011 everyday. In 2018 the number rose to 8 million travelled on the city’s lifeline.

After the nation-wide lockdown was imposed, the train services were suspended in March. It resumed in June for those working in the essential services, and later, women and lawyers were also allowed to travel, albeit during non-peak hours. In 2020, around 1.2 million commuters travelled by the locals.

According to GRP, an average of seven people lost their lives on railway tracks everyday before the lockdown was imposed. However, during the lockdown, the average deaths per day came to around three.

GRP figures showed that maximum deaths were recorded on the Central Railway. The number of commuters who lost their lives between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and Kalyan in 2020 was 523, as compared to 1,763 deaths in 2019. On the Western line, 369 deaths were reported between Churchgate and Virar, as compared to 928 in 2019 on the same route.

Officers said out of the total number of deaths, 730 died while trespassing, while 133 fatalities were of commuters who fell off the trains. One person died by falling off the platform, while two deaths were reported after commuters were hit by a pole while leaning out of a running train.

Experts and activists said that though the railways are taking efforts to reduce the deaths, their efforts must continue till the number of fatalities reach zero.

“Many illegal entry points have been closed. However, the railways should put up fences between the tracks which connect two platforms, as well to bring down the number of track crossings. It should also conduct more experiments with automated closed doors of local trains to minimise the problem of overcrowding and people falling off trains. Last year was an exception owing to the lockdown, but the numbers have always been alarming,” said Shakil Ahmed, a railways activist.

Track record of city’s lifeline

138 Railway stations

3,200 Train services

2,160 (90 seaters and 90 standing in each coach) Capacity of a 12-rake train

5,500 Approximate commuters on each local during peak hours

Fatalities by year

1,116 2020

2,691 2019

2,981 2018

Deaths during line crossing

730 2020

1,455 2019

1,619 2018

Deaths by falling off running trains

113 2020

611 2019

711 2018

Deaths after being hit by railway pole

2 2020

9 2019

19 2018

Stations that reported maximum deaths in 2020

183 Kalyan

141 Thane

127 Kurla

95 Vasai

75 Borivli

51 Vashi

48 Mumbai Central

26 Andheri

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