Every time someone pulls the chain, Western Railway loses at least 4 minutes

WR officers claim cases of alarm chain pulling are affecting punctuality; have formed teams to bring in offenders who yank the chain over frivolous reasons

In order to rein in offenders who throw the entire railway timetable out of gear by pulling the alarm chain for insignificant reasons, the Western Railway (WR) has formed teams whose members travel in plain clothes inside trains to identify these rogue elements.

Illustration/Uday Mohite
Illustration/Uday Mohite

Based on their observations, officers claimed the problem persists during morning and evening peak hours, when people travel in groups. They said the chains are pulled for frivolous reasons like allowing a fellow group member to board the train in case he/she is left behind or buy a bottle of water from the food stalls at platforms, among others.

“We have identified stations where the cases of alarm chain pulling (ACP) are regular,” said Anand Vijay Jha, senior divisional security commissioner (Mumbai), WR.

Problem five
A survey conducted by the authorities revealed that the problem of chain pulling was worst at Mumbai Central, Bandra, Andheri, Borivli and Nallasopara. Sources claimed most number of ACP cases are reported from Churchgate-bound trains halting at Borivli. “We operate 1,305 services daily. Every time someone pulls the chain, we lose at least 4 minutes,” said another WR officer.

Time-consuming exercise
Every time a chain is pulled, it sets off a ringer followed by hooters activated by the motorman for the stationmaster, who then sends his colleague to inspect the coach in which the chain was pulled and resets it to its original position.

“While our officers are busy investigating the reason for pulling the chain, the commuter for whom the train is delayed sneaks into the compartment from another door. No one comes forward to claim the responsibility for pulling the chain,” said a senior WR officer.

As per figures provided by the authorities, though the numbers of ACPs have dwindled this year in comparison to 2015, it still takes a toll on the punctuality.

ACP cases registered in April 2016

No of trains cancelled due to ACP in April 2016

Train delays caused by ACPs in April 2016

No of cases registered in April 2015

3.5 mins
Usual time gap between two trains

4 mins
Average delay caused by every ACP incident

No of services operated on WR daily

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