Mumbai: Cable theft on WR leads to 50 services being cancelled

All trains plying between Elphinstone Road and Mahalaxmi halted after all the signals turned red abruptly; officials claim theft of all 28 cables from junction box at Lower Parel resulted in scrambling of services

Commuters on the Western Railway were inconvenienced for over three hours, as more than 50 services on the Western line were cancelled after a thief made away with all the 28 cables inside a silver-coloured junction box that controls the signalling system between Elphinstone Road and Mahalaxmi.

Workers trying to fix the signalling system that went awry after a thief stole all the 28 cables inside a junction box at Lower Parel
Workers trying to fix the signalling system that went awry after a thief stole all the 28 cables inside a junction box at Lower Parel

Western Railway (WR) officials said that the theft occurred around 1.06 pm near railway tracks adjoining Shakti Mills at Lower Parel. Sources claimed that the thief broke open the lock of the junction box and stole all the cables that are necessary for optimal functioning of the signalling system.

Each of the cable receives and transmits data for the signal to glow red, double yellow, yellow or green, accordingly. With the cables going missing, all the signals between Elphinstone Road and Mahalaxmi turned red and services came to a standstill.

“The thief stole all the 28 cables from this junction box. In fact, he even tried to burn them then and there to extract coppers wires inside the cables,” a senior WR official said. A Railway Protection Force (RPF) officer claimed that since these cables are short, the thief stole all of them to extract sizeable quantity of copper wires from them.

He said the thief must have accessed the junction box either through Shakti Mills or the neighbouring compounds. “Stolen cables led to disruption of the signalling system and eventually the services, which were restored before 5 pm,” said Gajanan Mahatpurkar, PRO, WR.

He added that once caught, the RPF will book the thief under Section 174C (tampering or interfering with railway property) of the Railways Act, 1989.

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