Rail roko, violence, motormen strike paralyses Mumbai train services

Mumbai: Thousands of commuters rushing to their offices in south Mumbai and other parts were left stranded as the train services were disrupted or delayed after a wire snapped near the Thakurli railway station here.

Hundreds of commuters blocked the railway track at Diva station between Thane and Kalyan.

The protesters also set on fire at least three vehicles, including a police jeep, Thane Municipal Corporation's Disaster Control Officer Santosh Kadam said.

The angry commuters allegedly pelted some local trains with stones at Diva and also burnt tyres on the streets to vent their anger against the erratic running of trains.

The ticket window at Dombivili station on Central line was broken, and automatic ticket vending machines (ATVM) were thrown on tracks.

Police were rushed to control the situation and they resorted to mild caning to evict the agitating commuters from the railway tracks.

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The agitation started after schedule of local trains got disrupted when a pantograph broke at Thakurli in the morning.

This led to some suburban trains getting stranded. The worst affected were the Thane, Kalyan and Dombvili stations where a large number of commuters board the locals to reach their offices.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis reviewed the situation after the outbreak of train commuters' fury and appealed the people to maintain peace.

"The Chief Minister has appealed for peace. Police is taking all steps to restore peace," Minister of State for Home Ranjit Patil told reporters here.

"The CM is monitoring the situation every five minutes. He has spoken to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu," he said.

pantograph
Snapped overhead wires near Thakurli station. Pic: Shrikant Khupekar

Sources said that at least three pantographs got damaged and the train came to a standstill with huge sparks. This train was coming from Badlapur station.

broken pantograph
Damaged pantograph. Pic: Shrikant Khupekar 

Soon after another Kalyan-CST train apparently also experienced similar technical failure. Thus the entire slow line towards CST crumbled in the morning peak hours. Even the fast train services got affected as trains were being diverted.

Commuters
Commuters get out out of train that stalled near Thakurli station. Pic: Shrikant Khupekar

One train motorman and a guard sustained minor injuries in the chaos that ensued and they have been admitted at Byculla Railway hospital.

Motormen strike hits Harbour service
Train services on the Harbour line between CST-Panvel and CST-Andheri have been shut since 11.50am as protesting motormen refused to ply trains after a colleague was injured in the violence at Diva station.

More pictures: Train services disrupted on CR, commuters stage rail roko

"The motorman got injured after stone throwing incident at Diva" said a CR official. "He was apparently bleeding from his head and wasn't given any medical assistance all the way till CST. Due to this the motormen got all flared up and decided to stop train services on Harbour too," added the official

The technical hitch and the subsequent agitation has affected the train services on the suburban and long-distance sectors.

(with inputs from Agencies)

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