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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Kurla fire singes CR commuters Peak Hour Services May Normalize Today; Main And Harbour Line Travellers Will Be Allowed To Use Western Rly Trains


 In an unprecedented incident that had nothing to do with monsoon fury or a bandh, two of the city's three suburban railway lifelines — Central Railway's Main and Harbour routes — collapsed on Wednesday. A fire damaged the signalling system at Kurla on Tuesday midnight and paralyzed suburban services on the two routes as well as long-distance services. Services resumed at 3.30am on Wednesday, but trains ran three to four hours late. By late evening, only 70% of the 785 trains on the Main line and 585 on Harbour were back on track, though they continued to move at a snail's pace. 
    Central Railway commuters had a tough time as only 56% of the services were on till 2 pm, as 64 signals along a threekilometre stretch between Kurla and Vidyavihar had gone on the blink. Close to 38.5 lakh commuters were affected. 
    V A Malegonkar, chief public relations, Central Railway, said, "It will take another 48 hours to restore the services to normal. The extent of non-signalled stretch has shrunk on the three lines after repairs. Hence, CR will run all peak suburban trains on Thursday morning and, overall, 85% during the day." To ease commuter woes, CR has allowed them to use long-distance trains and Western Railway services between Mahim and Churchgate on Thursday. Some long-distance trains will halt between Kalyan, Kasara and Karjat. 
    A railway source said, "Prima facie, it does appear that the incident occurred due to a short-circuit between Vidyavihar and Kurla. Power from the 1,500 volts direct current cable may have come in 
contact with a signalling cable that is capable of carrying only 5 volts." The situation worsened as there is no backup system available considering that a signalling panel costs Rs 5 crore. 
    The fire was controlled in time by assistant station manager K S Agarwal, assistant sub-inspector Rajveer Singh and station master S M Moghe. 
    Ruling out the possibility of a sabotage, Malgaonkar said, "A three-member committee, comprising officials from safety, signalling and electrical department, will look into the incident." 
    He said, "Mumbai is equipped with automatic signalling where signals change from red, yellow, double yellow to green without manual intervention." However at a junction and yard, manual intervention is needed to give a command through the signalling panel situated in a route relay interlocking cabin, to change tracks where two streams merge. Due to the damage, manual intervention was not possible. Therefore, precaution has been taken by clamping signal points and permitting loco pilots and motormen to cross the signal at restricted speed. 
Death on Bandra tracks hits WR services too 
Suburban services on the Western Railway were also affected on Wednesday after a man was crushed under a train at Bandra. The train halted for over 40 minutes at the station around 8am. The deceased, Shyam Pawar (45), was a resident of BMC chawl in Colaba. His right leg was found stuck between the axle and the braking system. TNN 
Advisory For Commuters 
CR commuters with valid tickets can travel on WR between Mahim and Churchgate on Thursday Some long-distance trains will halt in the Kalyan to Karjat and Kasara section. People with valid tickets will be allowed to board them to travel to CST No long-distance trains will be rescheduled on Thursday 
Previous Disruptions 
On Monday, CR services were hit when a pantograph got entangled with the overhead wire at Wadala Road A similar incident had happened in Diva in 1995. It took seven days to restore traffic
LIVING NIGHTMARE: Commuters had a harrowing time at Kurla and elsewhere on the CR network as several services were cancelled and others were delayed


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