Motorman who kick-started train services relives the night of Mumbai floods

Aug 31, 2017, 15:55 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar

Yogesh Chauhan
Yogesh Chauhan

When 40-year-old Yogesh Chauhan moved through the sea of weary commuters on Tuesday at Churchgate, where there had been no train for nine hours, he felt a mixture of relief and happiness - relief as they would return home and happiness as he would be the one taking them.

The motorman of the 11.58 pm Churchgate-Virar slow said, "It was a huge responsibility for me. I would be the saarthi for these weary souls who had been waiting for hours. When we got an alert that it was safe for trains to move, I knew that the train would be crowded as people had been waiting at all stations en route," Chauhan, who has been with the railways for 18 years, told mid-day.

Services had been suspended between Churchgate and Andheri due to waterlogging, but Andheri-Virar-Dahanu trains were running.

"We are trained to keep our cool in such situations. It was a slow train, but the tracks were submerged. It was raining heavily and there were winds. We took the fast track, halting the train at all stations to help as many people as we could. It was important to keep the speed low and follow all speed restrictions. I drove till Borivli and we reached around 2.40 am. It took a bit longer but safety was paramount. And ultimately, there were smiles on the commuters' faces," he said.

The lifeline
Chauhan, a Nalasopara resident, said he was aware how the local trains were the lifeline of Mumbai and how such a disruption put an average commuter in trouble. "The sheer number of people depending on the suburban network makes it a major mode of transport for the city," he added.

Western Railway chief public relations officer Ravinder Bhakar said, "We were able to work in co-ordination with the BMC and get the trains restored by 11.58 pm. By 6 am, all the four lines were operational, and we were able to run services to help stranded passengers."

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