Technical glitches cause chaotic Monday for rail commuters in Mumbai | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Technical glitches cause chaotic Monday for rail commuters in Mumbai

Jun 04, 2024 08:31 AM IST

Rail disruptions on WR and CR cause chaos for commuters with cancellations and delays due to technical failures at Borivali, Thane, and CSMT, lasting for days

MUMBAI: It was a terrible start to the week for office goers on both Western Railway (WR) and Central Railway (CR) owing to the disruption of rail services. As many as 90 and 80 services were cancelled by WR and CR, respectively, while commuters spent almost 45 to 60 additional minutes in travel owing to the technical failures at Borivali, Thane and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT). Sources in CR said that the troubles at CSMT would continue for another two to three days.

Mumbai, India – June 03, 2024: Commuter crowds at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) due to Mumbai local train services were delayed on the Central Line due to a technical issue, in Mumbai, India, on Monday, June 03, 2024. (Photo by Bhushan Koyande/HT Photo)
Mumbai, India – June 03, 2024: Commuter crowds at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) due to Mumbai local train services were delayed on the Central Line due to a technical issue, in Mumbai, India, on Monday, June 03, 2024. (Photo by Bhushan Koyande/HT Photo)

Pre-monsoon works go wrong at Borivali

The technical failure at Borivali came about on account of an under-construction culvert at the northern end of Borivali station, which will run perpendicular to the tracks to drain rain water and prevent water logging. “Work on the micro-tunnelling for this, which needs to be completed by June 10, is under way,” said a WR official. “The contractor accidentally cut some cables while digging the tunnel, leading to a major disruption, which was detected at 2 am.” WR is likely to levy a steep penalty on the contractor.

The disruption led to signal and point failure—a point is a section which enables trains to switch rail lines, and is very crucial at stations with multiple platforms. Due to this, suburban trains could not operate from Platform 1 and 2 of Borivali station. All trains were delayed by 20 to 30 minutes during this period of point failure.

“Trains were being operated from Platform 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8,” said Sumit Thakur, Chief PRO, WR. “Train movement from Platform 1 resumed from 12.05 pm, and soon after, all the points were restored. About 90 train services had to be cancelled but 35 additional locals were put into service for the convenience of passengers.”

Meanwhile, MMRDA operated extra metro trains on Line 7 and 2A in the wake of the rail disruption. “Due to the delay on WR, there was massive overcrowding at Borivali, Kurar and Rashtriya Udyan metro stations. Four extra train sets were added on Metro lines 2A and 7,” said an MMRDA official.

Post mega-block blues at CSMT & Thane

A day after CR’s 63-hour block at Thane and 36-hour block at CSMT, there were repercussions on train operations on the main line. At Thane, there were signal issues due to the shifting of tracks, while the larger failure was at CSMT where a new system for controlling signals and tracks were found to have glitches. The glitches were seen from Monday morning at both locations.

“The issue at Thane was resolved in less than an hour,” said a CR official. “The technical failure at CSMT was far larger than expected. All these years through route relay interlocking, train movement has been operated by the push of a button. However, with the upgrade to electronic interlocking, the system has changed, and glitches had to be corrected using computers.”

Over 3,700 cables and wires had to be checked for faults. These cables allow the authorities to set 278 routes running on the suburban and long-distance platforms from CSMT. There are around 79 signals and 75 crossover points which had to be verified and rechecked on Monday for correcting the glitches. These signals and points are vital for the smooth running of services.

“We run simulations to identify possible technical glitches, but in reality it is very different when we operate trains on the new system,” said another senior official. “Every time there was a technical glitch in the system, our staff had to rectify it on the computer. It will take another two to three days for it to become glitch-free.”

Passengers were left in the lurch owing to crowded platforms and trains running late by 30 to 40 minutes. “I boarded a train from Ambivli at around 9.45 am, which reached Dadar at 12 noon,” said commuter Gayatri Tare. “It halted midway near Kurla for nearly 30 to 40 minutes. After reaching Dadar, I had to take the Western Railway, which too was running late.”

Another commuter, Siddesh Desai, could not board the train at all. “I was forced to take an auto rickshaw from Kalwa to Mulund, as the trains were jam-packed,” he said. “Despite carrying out such long mega blocks, why is it that the railways can’t get things correct?” Desai had to spend almost 250 and travel for 45 to 50 minutes by road.

Railway passenger associations are also furious that CR could not run smooth services between Kalyan-Kasara/Karjat stations which had no direct connection to the disruption. “Trains to Kasara were running 45 minutes late. All that the railway had to do was operate more services from Kalyan,” said Manohar Shelar, member of the Kalyan-Kasara-Karjat Rail Passengers Association.

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