If you are a Central Railway commuter, then be warned that delays in reaching your destination may remain a fact of life for quite a few days more. After the Kurla signal cabin fire earlier this week, railway officials announced that suburban train services would stand fully restored today. Now, according to senior officials from Central Railway, it will be another 10-12 days before services return to 100 per cent time-compliance. As a result, people might face delays of 10-15 minutes in their commute.
According to a railway official, while most signals have been restored, work on points and crossings will take another 10-12 days and trains will not be able to change tracks till then. There are six signals between Vidyavihar and Kurla and these remain affected. The signals at crossovers have not been repaired, so there will not be any diversion from the Vidyavihar crossover.
There are two crossovers near Kurla, one at Vidyavihar and another at Matunga. “In this case, locals won’t be able to cross over or divert from the Vidyavihar station side. The signal cabin has thousands of interconnected wires and it is a very difficult job for us to bring everything fully back on track so early. As our priority was to resume train services and run them as smoothly as possible, basic work was taken up first and urgently completed,” the official said.
An official in charge of signals said diversion of trains was a very important feature of the railway network and the facility should always be available to tackle emergencies. The official said a number of services have to be diverted in a day. “If there is a train in front of a local, in normal circumstances we would divert it to another platform,” the officials said. “But now, as trains cannot change tracks, we will be facing problems. If there is some emergency at Kurla station, we will not be able to move the train and as there can be a number of trains in queue, this will cause delays for commuters.”
As the signal cabin is connected to the Harbour line as well, it will also be affected. Central Railway ferries over 37 lakh passengers every day. The fire in Kurla signal cabin resulted in trains running late by hours. After three days of continuous work by over 200 workers and 30 senior officials, Central Railway has succeeded in restoring 85 per cent of its services. “We have almost finished the signal work and will be running over 95 per cent of our services from Saturday,” V A Malegaonkar, chief PRO, Central Railway, said. “Though work is still on at Kurla, we have completed a major part of it.”