Mumbai rains: After showers disrupt trains, CR, TMC fire fight under floodwater

Jun 26, 2017, 20:36 IST | Shashank Rao and Faisal Tandel

Authorities come together to conduct repairs at Kalwa and Kharegaon on 'war footing' after showers flood railway stations and disrupt services

The first round of water logging on railway tracks occurred at Thane and Kalwa (above) stations, where water rose four feet above the tracks, as there was no place for it to drain out. PIC/Sneha Kharabe
The first round of water logging on railway tracks occurred at Thane and Kalwa (above) stations, where water rose four feet above the tracks, as there was no place for it to drain out. PIC/Sneha Kharabe

In Mumbai, when it rains, it pours on the civic and railway authorities' lack of preparedness. Train services were disrupted on the Central Railway (CR) hours after heavy showers hit the city, but CR was quick to blame the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) for the flooding, saying it had happened because the civic body had set up a cement mixing plant at Kalwa. As for TMC, it has decided to conduct repairs on 'war footing' with CR, to curb future flooding at Kalwa and Kharegaon stations.

The first round of water logging on railway tracks occurred at Thane and Kalwa stations, where water rose four feet above the tracks, as there was no place for it to drain out.

Further disruption
There were already 30 per cent lesser services as per the Sunday timetable, but the water logging led to further disruption. "The services were suspended on the slow line between Thane and Dombivli twice. But gradually, they were restored," said Sunil Udasi, chief PRO, CR. The slow line between Thane and Dombivli was suspended for two and a half hours in the morning.

The first service was suspended between 5.30- 6.30 am and the second time it was suspended from 8.10 am to 9.45 am on this route. People were seen waiting for the trains at Thane, Diva, Kalwa on the slow line, as CR authorities diverted them on the fast line between Mulund and Diva stations.

Concrete accusation
CR officials said there was water logging at Thane station near platform 2, which is low lying. While the railway drains had been cleaned, the heavy rains still proved too much for them, which ended up affecting the next station, Kalwa, as well. CR pointed fingers at TMC for creating the problem. "The water logging occurred due to a ready mix concrete plant and because of raising and widening of a concrete road there by TMC. This resulted in obstruction of natural flow of water, which led to water logging on rail lines and nearby areas," said a CR official.

Later, rail authorities asked TMC to create an alternate drainage and diversion for the water. This has happened despite several checks over the last two months on rail lines before monsoon.

Surveying the flooding
Meanwhile, officials from both CR and TMC came to these stations to monitor and control the situation. A joint survey was conducted by Sunil Chavan, additional municipal commissioner, TMC along with Ravindra Kumar Goel, assistant divisional railway manager and Rizwan Ahmed, senior divisional railway engineer.

The team first visited the railway tracks near Kharegaon and Kalwa and found the small culvert (a structure that allows water to flow under a railroad or train) as the reason behind the flooding on railway tracks.

"Along with the railways, we visited the spot and cleared the issue. Since we had concretised our road, we had made the culvert bigger so that the water flows properly through it. But the small culvert on the railway side was not properly balancing the flow of water, because of which water was getting stored on the tracks and letting the city water in," said Chavan.

All in confusion
The survey lasted for three hours, after which the officials decided to do the repair work. "We have decided to do joint work, where both the expenses will be done equally. We will do a micro turning and drilling process and increase the size of the culvert on the railway side. The work will be done on war footing and completed within eight days," added Chavan.

Chavan also claimed CR tweeted in confusion and blamed TMC for the floodwater. "When we visited the spot for more than three hours on Sunday morning, they accepted the confusion and claimed that their public relation officer tweeted without any conformation. We also visited the Thane station area towards CST, where we have to demolish some encroachments and clean the drains again. We provided a JCB to the railways for the cleaning process."

Girder block faces delay, too
CR also carried out a six-hour block for launching four girders across all six lines near Thakurli for a Road Over Bridge. Due to heavy rains in the night and morning, the block started at 10 am, instead of 9. 15am. The block on down and up fast lines was lifted at 1.53pm, while the block on the slow lines and fifth and sixth lines was completed at 3.45pm. About 200 staffers were on job despite the weather. When completed, this ROB would help speed up train operations and eliminate level crossing gate.

150 Minutes for which the train services were disrupted on the slow line between Thane and Dombivli

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