17 inches between life and death

Mar 31, 2012, 06:58 IST | Naveen Nair

A year after MiD DAY investigation revealed how gaps between platforms and trains were way beyond the permissible norm of 8 inches, it's still the same old story at most stations.

A year after MiD DAY investigation revealed how gaps between platforms and trains were way beyond the permissible norm of 8 inches, it's still the same old story at most stations.

A year ago, MiD-DAY had visited several railway stations on the central and western lines in the city, where yawning gaps between the train footboard and station platforms were noticed. These gaps   exceeded the permissible limit of eight inches, as prescribed by the railway rules.

High jump: The height between Thane's platform No 2 and a train's
footboard is an enormous 17 inches. Pic/Sameer Markande

Now, a year later, a re-visit to stations on both lines showed that the situation is still the same. The gap varied from 15 to 17 inches on almost all stations. Several cases of injuries have occurred in the past few years due to these wide gaps. In many instances, commuters have to literally jump off the trains and on to the platforms.

This gap affects mainly women commuters who find their mobility hampered because they wear saris. The gap compounds problems for physically handicapped commuters. A K Singh, public relations officer (PRO), Central Railway, said, "Eight inches is the suggested maximum height, but there are some stations where the height exceeds the limit, due to curvature of the track. The wider gap is to avoid friction between the train and the curved platforms. Where the height of the tracks is more, work on increasing the height of the platforms has been initiated."

Nitin David, public relations officer (PRO), Western Railway, said, "The height of the tracks is being elevated as per requirement. In the previous financial year, platforms of 30 stations were elevated.


No hotfooting: Take care not to slip through the gap. Pics/Sunil Tiwari


Busy Bandra: The so-called Queen of the Suburbs is no exception


Danger: Particularly precarious if women are dressed in a sari


Mind it, Mahim: Hop, skip and jump to get aboard


South side story: You'll pull a muscle manoeuvring this one


Diva danger: Watch your step, here. Pics/Sameer Markande


Ghatkopar gaps: Get a firm grip on the footboard


Terminal problem: Look before you leap or lose a limb


Through Thane: The crowds will pull you down if you don't heave
yourself up


Watch wise: This station almost demands acrobatic skills

"In the current financial year, work on few more stations will be completed, and now planning for the remaining stations is in the pipeline. The height difference may vary from one station to another depending on the necessary requirements."

Manisha Tiwari,  Teacher, Thane
"The gap at some stations is so high, that I have to literally jump off the train to get onto the platform. This is dangerous because there are people trying to enter and exit the train simultaneously, and people can get shoved onto the platform."

Meena Awate Teacher, Thane
"I have been a witness to many injuries because of the height of the footboard. Many a time, people try to board or dismount from a moving train without fully calculating the difference in height, and they subsequently lose their balance and fall below."

Markas Londhe, Thane resident
"Handicapped persons are also subject to inconvenience because the gap runs across the entire length of the platform. Such a large gap could be hazardous because people can get pushed through onto the tracks during peak hours."

Bharti Devnani,  Ulhasnagar resident
"Women commuters who wear saris are particularly vulnerable because it is almost impossible to reach upto the high footboards while boarding. A few months ago, I myself fell out while alighting from a stationary train and injured my knee in the process."

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