A fortnight after Central Railway services were rudely brought to a halt due to a fire in a signaling cabin, Harbour line commuters had to deal with a similar disruption in train services yesterday. An overhead wire snapped near Vashi station after a short circuit during the morning rush hour, causing much agony to office goers. Around 9.11 am, many train services were cancelled, stressing out daily commuters who were left stranded at stations or jostling for auto rickshaws and buses. The snag was fixed after an hour, around 10.15 am. But it was enough to generate anguish and confusion among citizens.
Officially, the CR authorities claim that only three suburban services were cancelled, and one partially withdrawn, with a delay of about 25 minutes. But sources say the rupture forced authorities to cancel nearly 20 services in all. A railway official at Vashi station said, “We informed commuters of the technical snag immediately, so most resorted to other transport options. As it took around an hour to repair the hitch, we had to cancel 20 services in an hour’s time.”
Further, while officials maintain that they handled the situation in a way that did not leave commuters stranded at the station for long, commuters claim they did face problems. Right after the breakdown, announcements about temporary disturbances in the train schedule were made, and many commuters started hustling to the Vashi bus stand, overcrowding it. Others kept waiting for resumption of services, believing that locals would get back on track soon, but they were disappointed.
Nihar Mantri, an employee with a logistics company, said, “When the announcement was made, we waited for the services to be resumed, since there was a frantic rush toward the buses. Though railway officials announced that services would be resumed in minutes, they did not.” Angry passengers said the railway had failed to deliver on its promise of smooth services, which it made when the CR main line suffered the disturbance. V Malegaonkar, chief PRO, CR, said, “This was an unexpected failure and has nothing to do with maintenance issues.”