Western Railway considers stopping trains until offenders climb down
After failing to convince rooftop travellers on local trains to stage a climbdown through various means, Western Railway (WR) is considering desperate measures.
Railway officials may ask policemen to stay on the lookout for
rooftop travellers, especially during peak hours
According to sources, authorities may ask railway police to halt trains at any point and ask rooftop travellers to get down. It might sound impractical, but railway officials feel the time has come.
Sources in WR say they intend to ask railway policemen, including Government Railway Police (GRP) and Railway Protection Force (RPF), at particular stations to stay on the lookout for rooftop travellers, especially during peak hours.
"We might intensify our drive against rooftop travel at certain stations by asking culprits to get down. However, no particular decision has been taken," said G Pillai, divisional railway manager, WR.
Shock and awe
The railways plan to place police personnel at important stations along the 60-km Churchgate-Virar stretch to monitor and stop rooftop travel.
If they see any such activity while a train is on the move, they will inform railway officials at the next halt of that particular locomotive. This way they plan to apprehend these offenders.
"The trouble will escalate once the power conversion from 1,500-volt DC to 25,000-volt AC is complete right up to Churchgate.
This would become a death trap for rooftop travellers because of the high voltage," said a WR official. Meanwhile, some other railway officials and railway police personnel are of the view that the plan would be like a double-edged sword.
"There is always a possibility that the offender might fall down or get electrocuted if he tries to stand up and run on top of the roof," explained a railway police officer.
Apart from this, if a train is made to halt at a particular station for long it could result in delay in services, thus affecting the entire schedule on the network.
In the last few days there have been several cases of rooftop travel turning ugly. On January 12, a 42-year-old man received a shock at Dahisar, when the train was moving towards Virar.
He was then admitted to Bhagwati Hospital, from where he escaped before being recaptured even as doctors claimed he had sustained 75 per cent burns.
On January 3, two people were injured during rooftop travel while the train was waiting at Borivli station. One of them was sent to the hospital while the other received minor burns. On December 30, 2011, another man got a shock at Ulhasnagar station and he expired a few days later.