The Central Railway has removed valigators (rain rails) over the doors by which people would hang; authorities could do this on more rakes
The Central Railways (CR) is removing the valigators (curved metal grabbers) at the doors of compartments. The CR has done this for the first time, as officials want to stop people from hanging by them. The valigators are meant for directing the flow of rainwater and preventing it from entering the compartment.
A CR official said people just hang at the doors from the valigators, which has been removed from this coach. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Normally during morning and evening peak hours, people board over-crowded trains and at least six to seven cling to the valigators. “These people don’t even keep their feet on the footboard. They hang from the valigators,” said an officer from the Matunga workshop where a rake has been modified. CR has modified five coaches in one rake and will decide on whether it could be done in others.
People hold on to valigators as they board a train at Dadar. File pic
The CR officials said they have removed valigators from five coaches. The valigators are considered to be among the vital reasons why people hang on the footboard dangerously and risk their lives.
CR has removed the valigators and painted the area with silver paint. This could mean that during rains water might seep inside the local, or pour in, but then, officials claim that it is better than people hanging dangerously. “We have done this to prevent people from hanging. We will take views of people and depending on that decide if it should be extended to other coaches too,” said Narendra Patil, chief PRO, CR.
The CR will begin work of remodelling another rake and complete it by January. This rake was involved in the collision at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) on December 7 at platform 5.
“It is scheduled for periodic overhauling in January and that is when we will make the changes in five coaches,” said another CR official. In fact this time they will remodel five coaches, of which four will have 2+2 seating arrangement and the last one will have longitudinal seating arrangement.
People involved in the planning stated that they are already getting the seats ready for replacement inside this rake. On December 7, the guard of the rake was driving the train and smashed it into the buffer at CST late in the night.
Currently the rake has been kept with 72 other coaches at Matunga workshop where repair work is underway. According to officials the system of 2+2 is better as it provides seating arrangement plus creates more space for people to stand.
On December 22, the CR authorities unveiled modified coaches where the seats next to the door are removed and the width of the steel frame has been lessened, longitudinal seating has been made and 2+2 seats have been provided.
Overall 336 more people — as good as one whole coach — will get added to a single train with the modifications. Sources, however, said that the longitudinal coaches would put more pressure on the train’s carrying capacity. The longitudinal style plus 2+2 seats would allow 112 more seating capacity while the removal of seats will allow 56 more people to get inside a coach.