By Jagruti Verma. Photographs by Azad Shrivastav
Some commuters complained about the misinformation regarding the delays
Due to heavy rainfall and water logging at crucial locations like Sion, Matunga, Mankhurd and Wadala, Central and Harbour lines were affected during the day. Officially, the delay in the services during the morning peak hour was about 15 to 20 minutes and in the afternoon about 30 to 40 minutes. However, to make matters worse, around eight to nine trains were bunched between Vidyavihar and Matunga in the afternoon, adding to a delay of about an hour to add to the woes of the commuters.
Moreover, a rail fracture between Govandi and Mankhurd during the evening peak hour delayed the Harbour Line by half an hour, till the section was repaired by 7 pm.
A few commuters even took to Twitter to complain about misinformation regarding the delays, one of which read, “Actual run times for my traumatic journey: Kurla-Dadar (35 mins), Kurla-CST (2hrs05mins) regret believing this tweet!” However, there were plenty of commuters who were glad that at least the trains were running.
“Waterlogging levels had reached 8 inches in certain parts like Sion and Matunga and the trains had to be slowed down but our senior officials stood at such spots, overlooking the water pumps and ensured that the trains kept running,” said Sunil Udasi, Chief Public Relations Officer, Central Railway. If and when the water level rises above 8 inches (203 mm), there is a great risk of the ra ke getting marooned, has to be stopped and later pulled from the spot.
Another issue faced by the commuters stuck in trains crawling between stations was that no announcements were made to reassure them. To this, a senior railway official said that most Central Line and Harbour Line trains don't have a system where the main control room can make direct announcements in the train. They have to mostly depend on calling the guard in the train to communicate about the positioning of the train over mobile phones. “Efforts are being made to enhance the system,” added the official.
The rail fracture between Govandi and Mankhurd stations had brought the Harbour Line to a halt for about half an hour. Soon after the incident, a rumour went wild that railway authorities had used a cloth in the process, risking the lives of commuters. However, in a statement, the Central Railway authorities refuted the allegations, saying that the rail fracture was properly attended and safety of the commuters wasn't compromised. It said, “Initially it was clamped and fish plate was intact with tight bolts. After this, the portion is required to be painted as marking for replacement of rail. Since the paint does not stick in rain, the cloth was used instead and the train was allowed at 10kmph as per the normal procedure.” Only after proper replacement of rail, normal speed is permitted, the statement read.