Maintenance woes hit CR services 3 out of 5 days this month

The dismal record in September, coupled with August seeing a rise in technical failures compared to last year, points to the poor maintenance practices of the Central Railway

Maintenance of Central Railway (CR) on various technical grounds has faltered in August this year as compared to last year. Instances of rail fracture, weld fracture, OHE breakdown, brake binding and other technical failures have gone up.

On September 3, there were two cases of rail fractures one each on the main line and Harbour line and on September 2, the overhead electrification wire had snapped between Ghatkopar and Vikhroli. Pic for representation
On September 3, there were two cases of rail fractures one each on the main line and Harbour line and on September 2, the overhead electrification wire had snapped between Ghatkopar and Vikhroli. Pic for representation

On September 3, there were cases of rail fracture and on September 2, the OHE snapped on the Central line. The poor maintenance practices of Central Railway (CR) have caused trouble for commuters in three of the five days of this month so far.

A signal failure took place between Kalyan and Thakurli stations in the wee hours yesterday, and a technical glitch near Kurla in the evening caused delays and cancellations on the down line in the evening.

While CR’s spokesperson, A K Singh, said the signal failure, which took place around 1.30 am, did not disrupt services, passengers claimed that announcements about the glitch near Kurla were made around 5 pm and services had been affected.

On September 3, there were two cases of rail fractures one each on the main line and Harbour line and on September 2, the overhead electrification (OHE) wire had snapped between Ghatkopar and Vikhroli (see box). The rise in technical failures in August this year, compared to the same month last year, indicate the severity of the problem.

There were 18 cases of rail fractures in August this year, compared to twelve last year. Weld fracture cases rose from 1 to 3 and OHE failures trebled from 5 to 15. Instances of brake binding — wherein the brakes get stuck onto the wheels also trebled from 3 to 9, and cases of issues inside the EMU or rakes more than doubled from 51 to 105.

The only saving grace for CR is that instances of signal failure reduced from 276 in August 2013 to 231 this August and cases of point failures came down from 108 to 83. Speaking on condition of anonymity, CR officials admitted that there have been problems on the maintenance front in selected areas.

“With the withdrawal of mega blocks, maintaining the tracks, overhead cables, trains and other equipment has become a tough task. The number of services operated in Mumbai is substantial and there is only a two-hour block in the night when trains don’t operate and we can undertake maintenance activities,” said a CR official.

With nearly 3,000 services operating every day, the Mumbai suburban corridor is one of the busiest, carrying 75 lakh people every day on the Central and Western lines.

Tuesday troubles
On September 2, there was a rail fracture on the Harbour line between Vashi and Mankhurd stations from 9.20 am to 9.30 am, leading to disruption of train services heading to CST.

Officials said that there was a crack almost 6 inches deep on the weld that joins two tracks. This resulted in cancellation of three services, and trains ran at least 15 minutes late for the rest of the day.

On the main line, there was a rail fracture between Diva and Mumbra stations, which resulted in delays between 10.20 am and 11.05 am. A crack in the weld caused the problem here as well. “Trains were diverted onto the fast line between Diva and Mulund,” said A K Singh, spokesperson, Central Railway.

On September 1, at least 69 train services were cancelled after the slow corridor had to be shut following the snapping of an OHE cable between Vikhroli and Ghatkopar stations. The slow line corridor was shut for nearly four hours and Up and Down slow services were operated on the fast corridor between Matunga and Mulund.

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