Mumbai: Railways to install 150 pumps to tide over monsoon

The railways are confident about their preparations for monsoon, as this year, high tide is unlikely to cause flooding

On June 19 last year, not only did it rain cats and dogs, but even the high tide climbed up to 5 metres — twin threats that brought trains across the city to a halt. Thankfully, high tide is unlikely to pose a problem this year. However, railway officials said they will not compromise on preparations for monsoon or decrease the number of water pumps along the rail lines, just in case the low-lying areas get water-logged due to heavy rain.

Also read: Monsoon preparatory works in full swing on Western Railway

Commuters were stranded at stations after the heavy downpour brought train operations to a standstill on June 19 last year. File pic
Commuters were stranded at stations after the heavy downpour brought train operations to a standstill on June 19 last year. File pic

According to officials, 4.6 m is the maximum high-tide level that the railways can endure without experiencing flooding. Every monsoon, there are at least a couple of days when the high tide goes up to 5m or higher. However, this monsoon, the peak high tide is predicted for June 6, when the level is expected to touch 4.91 m in the afternoon.

However, CR and WR have decided not to decrease the number of water pumps in the low-lying areas, just in case rainfall is heavier this year. Flood-prone areas have been identified and, together, CR and WR will install a total of 150 pumps to deal with any water-logging — this is the same number as last year.

Precautions taken
The railways have already begun their preparations for the monsoon, by desilting drains and culverts (sewers flowing under the rail), and will soon finish maintenance checks. Major culverts were cleaned after joint inspection by the railways and BMC, and include those near Mithi River, Dharavi and Poisar. This is apart from desilting and cleaning of 43 culverts that is being done in three phases. The first phase will be completed by May 30 followed by second and third round after necessary inspections in June-July. Joint inspections by the railways and BMC are also ongoing. “We are in coordination with the railways and all possible help are being provided,” said municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta, adding that they were also providing pumps at locations prone to drain blockages.

CR and WR have also raised tracks in low-lying areas to prevent water overflowing onto the tracks from roads that are on a higher level. WR has lifted tracks at Elphinstone Road, Matunga Road and Bandra, where water-logging was observed last year. On CR, tracks have been raised near Sandhurst Road and between Sion and Kurla.

Also read: Ahead of monsoon, BMC releases June to September high tide schedule

The railways have also been plugging leaks inside EMU rakes, particularly in the windows and doors. Sources said that as most of the trains are new, the chances of roof leaks are less.

However, railway officials caution that despite all their efforts, excessive rain – especially when combined with high tide – could lead to waterlogging. A senior CR official said, “If there is heavy rain and high tide is above 4.6 m, flooding is inevitable. Our only option is to ensure the drains are constantly cleaned so they don’t choke.”

Flood-prone areas

WR: Marine Lines, Charni Road-Grant Road, Mumbai Central, Elphinstone Road, Dadar, Matunga Road-Mahim, Bandra-Khar, Andheri-Jogeshwari and Nalasopara-Virar

CR: Masjid, Currey Road-Parel, Sion-Kurla, Chunabhatti and Wadala

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