Kurla tracks turn into trespassing haven

A year after the Central Railway (CR) started the fifth and sixth lines on the Kurla-Thane stretch exclusively for long-distance trains, trespassers have found a new spot for crossing tracks and risking lives. The entrance of the two lines approaching the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) witnesses several passengers scurrying across it to avoid the congested terminus. CR sources claim that many passengers aboard long-distance trains arriving at LTT wait for the train to slow down right before entering the platform area and then hop down with their bag and baggage in tow.

DEATH IN THE FAST LANE: To save a few minutes, long-distance passengers including women and children get off the train with baggage and cross the tracks, when the trains slow down or halt before entering the platforms. Flie Pic

“It has been seen that as soon as the trains halt on the two lines just opposite Vidyavihar station, passengers start alighting, and cross tracks along with their luggage,” said a CR official, on the condition of anonymity. MiD DAY visited the spot to find that many commuters, with their bags slung across their shoulders, cross at least six tracks to get to the roads. These include two slow and two fast tracks, a loop line (where engines and coaches are parked or constantly moving) and one track meant for long-distance trains.

Food vendors at the station claim that trespassing is rampant and has been going on for long. Women and children struggle to climb up platforms at Vidyavihar station, and are constantly at risk of getting hit by an oncoming local. Every day, around 50 long-distance trains arrive at and depart from LTT. The traffic is likely to increase in the near future, with CR’s plan to divert more trains from Dadar. “We are doing everything possible to prevent trespassing,” said V Malegaonkar, chief PRO of CR.

Officials claimed that although fences are being installed at stations prone to accidents, it is not feasible to erect them between tracks. In the months January-March this year, 512 commuters died and 518 others were injured on the CR network either while crossing tracks or falling from trains.  

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