Mumbai (The Hindu):Officials say track fracture could be the reason. Early-morning mishap on Kalyan-Khopoli line cripples peak-hour services
Suburban railway services on the Central Line were thrown out of gear on Thursday after five coaches of a Kurla-Ambernath local derailed between Kalyan and Vithalwadi stations on the Kalyan-Khopoli line. There were no casualties in the mishap that occurred at 5.53 a.m., officials said.
Central Railway (CR) PRO A.K. Singh said the derailment was reportedly caused by a rail fracture. “It looks like rail fracture but we are not sure. Such fractures happen due to natural reasons like change in weather. The exact reason will be known after investigation. A high-level committee will be constituted to investigate the incident. Senior CR officials including Divisional Railway Manager Ravindra Goel and General Manager D.K. Sharma were at the spot to direct the rescue operation.
Trains from Khopoli to Kalyan and CST were back on track by around 9.23 a.m., but those plying from CST to Khopoli were cleared only by 4.25 p.m., officials said. in the evening. Locals between CST and Kasara were running on schedule, but commuters travelling between Kalyan Junction and Khopoli, however, bore the brunt of the mishap’s fallout.
With no public transport option available between Ambernath and Kalyan stations, CR officials requested the Kalyan Municipal Corporation to increase bus services. “I had to board a train from Kalyan station and it took five hours to reach my workplace in CST, which usually takes two hours. I also spent an extra Rs. 300 on travelling today,” said Lalit Idnani, 34, who usually takes the train from Ambernath station.
Passengers reported delays of 25 to 30 minutes for all trains on the Central Line. Samir Sachde, 45, a real estate executive who travels between Thane and Diva, said he was at the station when he delay was announced, and ended up getting late for work. “As far as I know, this was not due to any human error. Officials should keep a check on the tracks to avert any future incidents,” he said.
The delays led to an increase in the peak hour passenger rush, and women were the worst affected. “Miscreants were taking the advantage of the situation and many women were molested. We understand that accidents can occur anywhere at any hour, but what irritated me the most was the apathy shown by railway authorities. I tried calling their office, but couldn’t. The announcement made was unclear and led to more confusion,” Akanksha Supal, 38, a Kalwa resident who works as a clerk at the Bombay High Court, said.
Kalwa Railway Pravasi Sanghatana founder Siddhesh Desai said railway officials had informed commuter associations about the problem. “It was the only good thing the railways did, and it helped us to share accurate information. Once again it has been proved that CR needs far better precautionary measures,” he said.
The Samajwadi Party’s State party chief Abu Azmi took on Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu over the mishap. “Why is the railway minister, who is always so active on social media, suddenly so quiet about the troubles faced by Mumbai’s railway passengers?” he said. Mr. Azmi added that passengers need a more efficient railway service and a solution to overcrowding, rather than wireless internet on platforms. “The railway minister comes to Mumbai and makes big promises, but disappears when passengers face trouble.”
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