One of the most familiar sights at any railway station in the city is that of elderly or female commuters struggling to dismount from the steep heights of the locals onto solid ground far below. Time and again, MiD DAY has pointed out that the reason for their painful dismount is the huge gap between the trains and the platforms at the stations. Sometimes, passengers in a hurry slip and fall into this gap, sustaining serious, even fatal injuries (‘17 inches between life and death,’ MiD DAY, March 31).
The authorities at Western Railway (WR) seem to have finally taken cognisance of this long-persisting problem, and are making the right moves that will (hopefully) result in uniform platform levels across the suburban stations. It has sought the help of the research and design wing of the Indian Railways for a solution.
Soon, the Western Railway (WR) authorities and members of the Research, Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO), of Indian Railways in Lucknow are going to conduct a survey, wherein they evaluate the heights of the existing platforms and recommend an ideal height for them on the basis of their calculations. Members of the RDSO have come all the way from Lucknow for this very purpose.
A proposal submitted by the WR administration says that it wants to raise the height of the platform to 960 mm from ground level and the visiting team from RDSO will study the feasibility of this revision. “Presently the height of platforms ranges anywhere between 760 mm and 840 mm, while the footboard of a local train stands at around 1,200 mm,” said a WR official.
This discrepancy inconveniences commuters, who often trip and fall, sometimes fatally.
“I feel scared to board trains, especially at stations like Dadar where the gap is huge. The overcrowded platforms make things worse,” said Sunita Argade, a resident of Dadar who commutes to her office from Dadar.
The railway officials made the proposal after it recognised that different platforms at different stations stand at different heights – the discrepancy can be particularly noticed in stations like Charni Road, Lower Parel, Elphinstone Road, Dadar, Mahim, Bandra, Vile Parle, Andheri, Jogeshwari, Malad, Kandivali, Borivli, Bhayander and Virar.
The gap between the trains and the platform at these stations is significant, causing the railway officials to consider raising the tracks from their original level. This will also prevent waterlogging during monsoons and make the maintenance of tracks easier.
“We are looking to get permission from the Railway Board to raise the height of platforms to 940-960 mm,” said Sharat Chandrayan, chief PRO, WR.
It’s not just the height of the platforms, but also the make of the trains that are giving rise to these problems.
The air-springs on the violet-white trains fail to compress even when the trains are crowded. The old trains, on the other hand, have coil springs that get pushed down in crowded coaches.
Height of problem
760 mm-840 mm
Present height of platforms from the ground level
Proposed height for platforms
Height of trains from ground level
The average number of accidents on local train tracks every day