Monday’s pre-monsoon showers seem to have washed away all of the Railways’ tall claims, especially of keeping lakhs of Mumbai commuters in the loop about service disruptions.

Late on Monday, as all three railway lines suffered technical failures owing to the showers, commuters were not informed about disruptions, either through social media or public-announcement systems. With both Central Railway (CR) and Western Railway (WR) services hit and delayed by 20 to 30 minutes owing to a fault in the overhead wires, passengers were stranded at stations until late in the night. Commuter activists said passengers also panicked as they saw sparks and heard loud noises coming from pantographs, through which the train draws power from overhead cables.

“At least Railways should have appealed to people not to panic,” said Subhash Gupta, a commuter activist. Gupta said the chaos yesterday showed that Railways had failed even before the monsoons could hit the city and were clearly ill-prepared to handle disasters.

Commuter groups said the Railways did not keep passengers informed about the status of suburban services.

When HT checked, there were no tweets that informed the commuters of the situation from either CR or WR’s official Twitter accounts. Similarly, no information was sent from Twitter accounts of the general manager or divisional railway managers of both Railways, though some replies were given to individuals. However, these replies tagged other junior officers and the Railway Protection Force. The Railway spokesperson, however, said they are well prepared and necessary steps are being taken to avoid troubles to the people.

AK Gupta, general manager, WR, with additional charge of CR, said repeated incidents of power glitches occurred, owing to which they were unable to convey the exact status of the trains. “The trains were running late, but were not completely stopped. There were hardly any cancellations,” Gupta said.

On CR, the passengers reported major problems at Kopar, Diva, Chunabhatti and Juinagar stations; on WR, incidents were reported at Bandra, Malad and Mahim stations. The railway spokespersons, however, said there were only a couple of incidents.

Daily, 80 lakh commuters travel by suburban locals. The railway board has pointed out that Mumbai commuters make up nearly 50% of the total passengers travelling on the entire Indian Railways. Some of the activists demanded that legislators and parliamentarians need to raise this issue.

First Published:
Jun 12, 2019 05:21 IST

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