Central Railway claims that if Western Railway doesn’t accede to its requests for newer coaches, half the trains on the Thane-Vashi/Panvel line may have to suffer since some of their coaches are past their operating life
In the tug-of-war between Western Railway (WR) and Central Railway (CR), passengers of the Trans-Harbour line may emerge as the ultimate loser.
According to CR, going back to 9-car rakes will reduce carrying capacity by nearly 30 per cent. File pic for representation
Officials from CR say that if WR continues to refuse to hand over some spare newer coaches of suburban local trains, they will be forced to reduce half the trains on the Thane-Vashi/Panvel line to 9-car rakes. This is because some of the coaches in these rakes are past their operational life and need to be replaced immediately.
According to CR officials, these crumbling coaches on the Thane-Vashi/Panvel Trans-Harbour line are so old that it is dangerous to operate them. “There are at least five rakes in which some of the coaches are nearly 34 years old, which is 10 years more than their operating age. We are worried that some untoward incident may occur.
We are tired of asking for coaches from WR,” said an official from Central Railway, adding that they have been asking for new coaches for more than a year. The official also said they have to make inspections in the night to ensure no accidents occur the next day. “We are losing sleep, fearing that the coaches may collapse any time and risk the lives of passengers,” he added.
As of now, CR has 10 rakes running on this line, which are used to operate 210 services per day. The official said that if replacement coaches do not arrive in the next two months, they will be forced to run their trains with 9-car rakes. “This will decrease carrying capacity by almost 30 per cent,” added another senior railway official, requesting anonymity. In all, 15 coaches will have to be taken off the tracks and half the trains will have to be run with 9-car rakes.
Speaking to mid-day on the issue, Madhu Kotian, president of Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh, a commuter body, said, “In the fight between WR and CR, why should the passengers suffer? Passengers are paying the full fare.
Forcing passengers on this section to travel in condemned trains is akin to a crime. Railways should not use the coaches if they are more than 25 years old.”
CR vs WR
Commenting on the old coaches running on the line, A K Singh, PRO, Central Railway, said, “There are rakes which are old, but their maintenance is done on a regular basis.
They are put on the track only if they’re capable of running. We will ask for (new) coaches from WR after the conversion from (1,500V) DC to (25,000V) AC is completed.”
Sharat Chandrayan, Chief PRO, Western Railway, said, “This is our internal matter and these issues will be decided between us. These are all rumours that we are not giving coaches to Central Railway.”
Number of services operating on the Trans-Harbour line every day