For those who commute regularly by train, being stranded in the middle of your journey without having a clue why is a very familiar occurrence. Sometimes, however, it’s not the fault of the railway workers. Or so say the railway officials, claiming that miscreants have been placing stones at crossover points, which, in turn, affects the signalling, forcing motormen to stop the train. A railway track crossover point connects two parallel rail tracks and is connected to the signal.
According to Central Railway (CR), authorities end up rectifying over four such glitches in a day. “There are thousands of crossovers along the tracks and we have been unsuccessful in nabbing truants who stop trains for their entertainment,” complained a senior CR railway official.
In February alone, CR registered over 50 cases of stones being placed unknowingly on crossovers. The officials admitted that initially they were confused about the source of the problem. After failing to solve it from the control room, an employee checked the point manually and found the stone on the crossover point. “The moment the stone is removed from the crossover point, the signal works.
This issue has come up recently, but we can’t discuss such problems with passengers, nor can we announce it publicly. Sometimes, the whole process takes over an hour, causing services to stall,” added the official. On February 18, a stone was found at a crossover point between Thakurli and Diva station on the Central line at 8.13 pm. The motorman didn’t get the green signal and so he stopped the train. The control room tried to figure out what was wrong but they couldn’t find anything.
“We sent railway staff to some crossover points and one of them had a stone inside it. It took around 70 minutes to restore services on that track.” Similarly, on February 6, over half-an-hour was wasted just in locating the stone at a specific crossover point. “The crossover point is very sensitive and it directly affects the signal,” added the official. CR divisional railway manager Mukesh Nigam, said, “This is a regular issue and we request the persons to please avoid indulging in such wrong practices.”