Around 450 passengers of the Vadodara Express stranded in floods near Nalasopara station since 3.40 a.m. were rescued by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Railway Protection Force on Tuesday. As the city received continuous rainfall overnight, the section between Virar and Nalasopara got flooded for the second day running.
Western Railway had to suspend all services between Vasai and Virar. As a consequence several trains coming into the city were stranded at various places north of Virar.
The Vadodara Express with over 1,000 passengers had left Vadodara the previous night. It was scheduled to reach Mumbai Central at 4.45 a.m. but due to severe waterlogging it could not proceed.
“The train was marooned only 400 meters from Nalasopara. Our initial hope was that the water level would reduce a little and we would be able to pull it into the station,” a senior railway official said, “However, the level of water continued to rise through the day.” The water level in the morning was around 400 mm but it continued to rise. At 4.30 p.m. the water level on the fast track, on which the train was stranded, had risen to 605 mm.
Commuters on the train said that repeated calls for help went unheeded until someone wrote a post about their plight on social media.
Fiza Jafreen had boarded the train in Surat along with her brothers. She said that many passengers climbed down and walked on the tracks. But this was not possible for everyone.
“There were several women, children and senior citizens in our coach and on this train.
However, we received no help from the authorities until 11 a.m. when they gave us food and water,” she said. Local railway officials said distribution of food and water took time as the RPF staff had to wade through water on the tracks and distribute it by hand.
Ms. Jafreen and her brothers left the train around 1 p.m. when they felt that there was no end in sight. “The water was chest deep, and it would be impossible for children There were still families stuck, especially those with young children,” she said. Western Railway (WR) called the NDRF around 1.30 p.m. to rescue those stranded. It also arranged 11 buses to ferry the passengers from the station to Naigaon, where they had arranged food.
Mumbai received 184 mm rainfall until Tuesday morning, the highest 24-hr July rainfall in four years. The IMD has predicted similar weather conditions for the entire week.
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