Thanks to yet another strike called by the motormen, yesterday, Western Railway (WR) services on the Virar-Churchgate line almost came to a standstill, inconveniencing nearly 3.3 million commuters greatly.
With the motormen deciding to run the trains on 'work to rule' basis, the situation is expected to remain dicey for the next few days.
Stranded: Recent strikes by motormen have brought the city to a near
standstill and forced helpless train passengers to turn to alternate modes
of transport. File pic
"We will continue this method of running trains until the administration addresses our grievances," said an angry motorman, requesting anonymity.
Under the 'work to rule' protest, motormen will be manoeuvring the trains at just 10 kmph while entering platforms, and at about 10 to 15 kmph at curvatures along the 60-km Virar-Churchgate route when the visibility is affected. Moreover, the speed will vary as per the signal displayed along the track.
Yesterday morning, trains were running over 15 minutes behind schedule during peak hours and by more than 20 minutes during non-peak hours, creating utter chaos amongst commuters.
Important stations such as Churchgate, Dadar, Andheri and Borivli, were overflowing with stranded commuters.
Reason for protest
The 'work to rule' is supposed to be an effective method for motormen to get their demands approved, as it directly affects the punctuality of trains.
The protest was initiated since Wednesday, after an Andheri-bound local from Virar jumped a red signal.
While the motorman blamed the guard for his failure to spot the red signal, the guard has maintained that the signal was yellow.
According to P N Gupta of Western Railway Motormen Association (WRMA), "There was a provision of repeater
signal fitted on the platform for the guard to see. This is a safety measure that has now been removed by the administration and this is creating problems."
Sources confirmed that the administration has removed repeater signals at certain stations.
Meanwhile, the WR administration feels that the motormen association is protecting K Chaudary, the motorman, who jumped the signal. Commenting on the issue, S Chandrayan, chief PRO, WR, said, "We are resolving the issue."
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