Rail fractures, signal failure throw CR services off track

Delayed rail services on the Central and Harbour lines during morning peak hours caused major travel disruptions, making life difficult for commuters yesterday. Central Railway (CR) services on the down line were affected at Kalwa station owing to signal failure from 8.04 to 9 am because of which four services were diverted via Mulund-Diva on the down fast line.

When a rail fracture is identified, it is clamped using special metal plates. Representation pic

Meanwhile, a rail fracture on the tracks between Kopar Khairane and Turbhe railway station on the trans harbour route between 7.25 am and 8.20 am resulted in cancellation of four services. Besides, at Badlapur railway station too there was a signal failure, which crippled services for half an hour. Although the services were affected for a brief period, train services were thrown off track.

Kalwa resident Deepika Sahu, who left home at 8.30 am for her workplace in Kanjurmarg, said that following the disruption, crowds at the station swelled. “The cancellation of trains resulted in congestion on the platforms. Even after waiting at the station for an hour for services to resume, it was difficult to get into a train. Commuting during peak hours is cumbersome and with cancellation of the services, the situation was even worse.”

Speaking to MiD DAY Sudarshan Khurana, station manager of Vashi railway station, said that services were disrupted for a while, but they were prompt in resuming things back to normal, as they were well aware that these were peak hours and commuters would be hassled.Vashi resident Meena Mishra, who was traveling to her work place in Airoli, said that with the 15 to 20 minute time gap between two trains on Thane-Vashi route, the further delays caused her to reach her destination late. “I believe the frequency of the trains on the harbour line should be increased, considering the number of companies mushrooming in this belt. After services resumed, the trains were jam-packed.” Meanwhile, Atul Rane, CPRO, CR, said that there was a rail fracture at Badlapur railway station from 10.45 to 11.20 am, but there were no cancellations.

What is a rail fracture?
Rail fractures are caused on tracks due to reduced ductility at welded locations caused due to fluctuations in the ambient temperature. Waterlogging on tracks also result in variation in temperature causing rail fractures. Whenever there are fractures in rail tracks, it becomes dangerous for trains to ply, as there could be chances of derailment. When a rail fracture is identified, it is clamped using special metal plates thus allowing trains to move at restricted speeds of around 20 kmph. Then, during late night hours, a special block is imposed and the fractured track is welded or by either replacing the track portion or filling the gap using small piece of metal.

- Inputs from Shashank Rao 

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