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600 CR services cancelled since Dec 29; glitches continue

Nearly 600 train services have been cancelled since December 29 on the Central Railway (CR) network, due to the shoddy planning and implementation of the Thane yard remodelling and other works, underway since December 29. The problems continued yesterday, with delays, technical failures and four cancellations on the tracks.

There was also a rail fracture at Titwala, point and signal failures near Thane yesterday. The rail fracture was attributed to sudden drop in temperatures. “The services were normal until 8 am, after which there were problems due to the technical errors,” said a CR official. There were delays of 15 minutes in services.


Mad rush: On January 1, three people lost their lives owing to packed trains. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar

The CR authorities agree that there was some failure on their part in informing commuters about the mega block, which led to chaos and also claimed four lives. Authorities claim that work on changing the route relay interlocking (RRI) system at Thane was even more complicated than the work required after the Kurla-Vidyavihar fire gutted the signalling system last year. “There were at least two RRIs at Kurla when the fire occurred, and that allowed us to manage the traffic. But in this case there was only one,” said a CR official, on condition of anonymity.

Other sources claimed that unforeseen problems arose during the work — the result of miscalculations in the planning stages. Initially, the tracks on platforms one, two and three weren’t available for trains to run on, as the crossover points couldn’t be located. Finally on Monday, the authorities managed to identify all points on tracks. “The work was carried out immediately after the plans were made, which seems to have led to lack of coordination among different departments involved in the work,” said another CR official.  They also carried out work on augmenting the power supply from Direct Current to Alternating Current, changing tracks and the signalling system.  The chairman of the railway board will be visiting Mumbai today and will take stock of things. Those found responsible for the chaos might be transferred.

What’s in store?
Minor work remains on the Thane yard remodelling project. Nearly 42 new signals have been installed and positions of 12 signals changed. “It is expected to take at least seven days for motormen to have a clear idea of the changed signals. During this time, it is likely that trains will move at a restricted speed near Thane to avoid mistakes,” said another CR official. The new system at Thane yard is yet to be connected to the control room at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), which is expected to take at least 10 days. This would mean that any train coming out of the yard onto the main line needs to be carefully monitored on site.

Payoffs
In the long run, the speeds of trains arriving and departing from Thane are expected to augment from 10 kmph to 30 kmph. Moreover, power supply is expected to augment from 1,500-volt DC to 25,000-volt AC from January 25. This means that the trains will speed up beyond Thane. “We will be adding 11 pairs of trains on Thane-Karjat and Thane-Kasara section from January 15,” said a CR official.  The families of victims who died after falling of the trains have been offered Rs 50,000 by the CR. General Manager Subodh Jain made the announcement.  

Work delayed
The first leg of work was flagged off on the night of December 29-30 (Saturday-Sunday), and was to be completed by Monday morning by 4 am
Chaos ensued, with delayed trains causing a sea of commuters to gather at platforms. Four people died after falling from local trains Several services were cancelled on the first two days, namely December 30 and December 31Since New Year, nearly 250 services have been cancelled 

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