Thane: Decision of halting fast trains at Diva led to Titwala trouble

Updated: Dec 08, 2016, 14:45 IST | Shashank Rao

The rail roko at Titwala seems to be a case of authorities shooting themselves in the foot by succumbing to Diva commuters’ demand of halting fast trains there

Commuters at Titwala came on to the tracks, blocking everything for three hoursCommuters at Titwala came on to the tracks, blocking everything for three hours

What’s common between rail commuters at Diva, Badlapur and now Titwala? They all have agitated in a bid to make railway authorities give in to their demands. But CR officials have only themselves to blame for the precedent they set by giving in to people’s demand of making fast trains halt at Diva. And this realisation came after Titwala commuters jumped on to tracks early yesterday to protest against delay in local services.

Watch Video: Angry passengers block railway tracks in Titwala

Commuters at Titwala blocked the tracks at 5.55 am yesterday
Commuters at Titwala blocked the tracks at 5.55 am yesterday

So many stinkers
Authorities claimed that they have been getting letters and representations from local passenger associations, demanding that suburban trains be run as per commuters’ convenience, besides asking for an increase in the number of services.

“We are getting letters wherein people are threatening to throw cow dung on the faces of officials, and stage rail-roko agitations if their demands aren’t met,” said a senior CR official.

The Titwala trouble
Yesterday, commuters at Titwala came onto the tracks because trains were running late. It all started with an issue with the circuit breaker in the overhead cables. The CR had undertaken a power block between Atgaon and Khadavli stations, which started at 3.55 am and ended at 4.40 am. But after a problem was detected with the circuits, the block had to be extended till 5.50 am.

The first service delayed was a Thane-Asangaon train, with authorities giving way to a long-distance train. This aggravated the situation. People started protesting, and soon, the mob went berserk and dragged the stationmaster out, making him sit on the tracks.

Read Story: Badlapur Agitation: Irked by train delays? Cause more delays

“The stationmaster was not harmed; he was made to sit on the tracks till the end. The disruption remained till 8.55 am. But we can’t increase services until the third line is in place,” said Ravindra Goyal, divisional railway manager (Mumbai), CR.

No solution?
A third line has been proposed on the Kalyan-Kasara and Kalyan-Karjat sections. President of the Kalyan-Kasara-Karjat Passenger Association Rajesh Gangav said, “We have voiced our issues to the authorities several times, but nothing has happened. Hence, we had no option but to come on the tracks. Every time a long-distance train is given preference, things go out of hand for the commuters.”

The CR had to cancel 40 trains completely and terminate nine trains mid-way; more than 70 services were delayed by over 20 minutes.

The Diva halt
Sources said 24 fast line services would get a halt at Diva daily. However, conflicting views are already arising from various public representatives and passenger associations. While some want only CST-Kalyan trains to get a Diva halt, others say that even those trains going up to Karjat and Kasara should be stopped at the station. The timetable has been prepared, and now, they are adding it into their announcement and ticketing systems.

150
No. of services on the Kalyan-Kasara stretch

214
No. of services on the Kalyan-Karjat-Khopoli stretch

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