On an average, 10 passengers are killed on city’s suburban railway network every day. Nineteen-year-old Abu Fahad Shaikh was lucky not to contribute to the statistic last morning after being squeezed out of a crowded coach in a moving train and falling down on the tracks.
On Monday, Shaikh boarded a local at Govandi around 9.27 am. When the train reached Tilak Nagar station, he was pulled out by the rush hour horde trying to get in. Luckily for Shaikh, the motorman of the train on the adjacent tracks had seen him fall and hit the brakes -- he could afford to do so as the train was approaching the station.
“I fell when the train was nearing Tilak Nagar station and the motorman of the other train braked to stop. I am thankful to him. Had he not seen me falling, I wouldn’t be alive,” said Shaikh, adding, “I was concerned about my family’s well-being in case anything happened to me.”
He was rushed to Rajawadi Hospital by his friends but couldn’t get admitted before 2.30 pm due to unavailability of doctors. He sustained a fracture to his left leg and multiple injuries.
Harbour line commuters have long been complaining of overcrowding. “The Harbour line trains are always packed beyond capacity, posing a risk to commuters’ lives. My son takes the train daily and goes through the same situation,” said Shaikh’s father Mohammad Aliyas.
Atul Rane, chief PRO, CR, said, “We have always been declaring that travelling on the footboard should be avoided as it’s very unsafe. If people disobey us and take a chance, they are bound to suffer. We are working towards increasing services on Harbour line.”
Hitch derails services
A while later, a technical glitch in a train led to hour-long delays and cancellations in Harbour line services. Commuters were stranded at various stations after a CST-bound train was stuck between Reay Road and Dockyard Road due to a unit failure.
The error occurred at 10.50 am and services resumed by 11.15 am. In between this time, the unrest among commuters was palpable. “My office is in Andheri and the trains are running so late it’s impossible to reach on time.
I have been waiting for half an hour but there is no sign of a train. There is such a huge crowd due to this delay that I am not even sure if I will be able to get aboard,” said Sangeet Kumar Meena, a resident of Wadala.