Mumbai local commuters on Harbour line raise a stink over dirty trains

While the main line of Central Railway and Western Railway have the new Siemens rakes, the Harbour line has to make do with old rakes laden with dust and infested with insects

Commuters on the Harbour line are an angry lot. They feel they are meted out step-motherly treatment by the railway authorities, and complain of the poorly maintained trains that they have to travel in every day.

Commuters complain that the old rakes running on the Harbour line are dirty and infested with cockroaches. Moreover, they are also suffocating during peak hours. Pic for representation

They say the rakes are full of dust and are often infested with insects.

While they see trains on the Main line of Central Railway, and Western Railway operating the Siemens rakes, Harbour line has to make do with the old nine-car rakes.

“Why are old and dilapidated rakes being used only for Harbour line, when others are using new trains? These coaches are very uncomfortable compared to the new rakes,” said Dushant Sakhare, a regular commuter between CST and Panvel. Passengers are sick of the trains covered in dust; sometimes, they also find cockroaches moving around in the train.

Another passenger, Subhash Meka, who has been a regular commuter on the Harbour line for the last 10 years, felt Harbour line has always had the short end of the stick. “We pay the same fare as the CR (Main line) and WR passengers. Why do the authorities treat us like a pariah? The rakes in the Harbour section are suffocating during rush hour; it’s really difficult to breathe inside the coaches.”

The Harbour line has 36 rakes of nine coaches each, and it runs 583 services every day for its approximately 14 lakh passengers.

Madhu Kotian, president of the Rail Pravasi Sangh, a commuter welfare body, said, “This has been an issue on the Harbour line since very long. CR authorities don’t look beyond the Main line. Harbour passengers get the old rakes that have been pulled out of service from the other lines. These trains are dirty and have cockroaches running around inside.”

“Why are they treated like this? We have already made complaints and will follow up on the matter soon,” added Kotian.

Narendra Patil, chief PRO, Central Railway, said, “The height of the platforms on Harbour line is low, and they are also shorter in length. Hence, we can’t use the 12-car and 15-car rakes on this line. We don’t have any intention to be biased against the Harbour line passengers. I will look into the complaints regarding cleanliness and other issues soon.”

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