In the first of a multi-part series that will audit our railway stations and other public places, we find out what ails the crucial station that straddles both Western and Central lines

The Elphinstone Road stampede that killed 23 has put the focus firmly on the safety of citizens in Mumbai's public places. But is it just one station? Starting with other stations in both lines, we audited several public places to see how safe they are.

Platform 1 on Dadar's CR side is a death trap according to commuters
Platform 1 on Dadar's CR side is a death trap according to commuters

Dadar station has been crying for a uniform upgrade. And one would say it was about time a long time ago, what with it being one of Mumbai's most crowded stations, where meet Central and Western Railways, both zones independently upgrading their sides as per availability of space and funds. Commuters say it needs a comprehensive makeover.

Commuters crowd on the staircase that leads up to the FOB connecting the station's CR and WR sides
Commuters crowd on the staircase that leads up to the FOB connecting the station's CR and WR sides

Crazy chaos
The railways recently built more foot overbridges with escalators for easy connectivity, also linking them to the arterial vehicular Tilak Bridge. However, easy access from western side is blocked due to the construction of a flyover, converting the station road into a narrow alley full of hawkers. Dadar WR has also blocked several entry-exit points to platform one, making it a trap.

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The main foot overbridge that connects to the two sides
The main foot overbridge that connects to the two sides

"The station needs a makeover as a whole. Both the Central and Western Railways have six to seven platforms each in addition to a terminus on both lines on the north side. However, crowding is more at the south end, which railways has failed to develop," said Shashikant Sonar, a resident of Dadar.

A drinking water kiosk on a Dadar Western Railway platform

The area between Dadar CR and WR is a no-man's land with all kinds of activities going on there, right from a godown of hawkers to a number of encroachments. In fact, it's a railway colony having a few union members and police offices, but with zero monitoring, it's haphazard, encroached and congested.

Also read: Alert RPF nabs 21-year-old thief at Dadar railway station

Formless platforms
Platforms themselves are cluttered with so many amenities that there is no space to walk or stand. On CR, platform 1 is a virtual death trap - it gets so crowded during peak hours that the sea of commuters appears to spill over.

Ideally, a double-discharge platform here will solve the issue, but plans have been gathering dust, nearly impossible to execute due to railway structures on the other side. On platforms three and four, several bridge landings, canteens, khomchas, and other items, namely water filters, can be seen jostling for space, leaving barely any for commuters. Decluttering these two platforms will solve half the problem, as outstation as well as local trains take turns to arrive there, and passengers for both add to the chaos.

Also read - Mumbai: Woman saved from falling into platform gap by RPF officials at Dadar station

"WR's platform one is in a similar condition, its exits blocked, having almost eight to nine canteens, fruit juice stalls and khomchas. Are so many required on one platform? These along with bookstalls, water filters, bridge landings and what not have turned the actual standing space for commuters into a mere strip. Don't railway officials see all this?" fumed Parel resident Sandip Shah.


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