Mumbai rail woes: Not possible to run trains from Churchgate to Central suburbs, says WR

The Western Railway on Thursday said that it would not be possible to run trains from Churchgate to Central Railway suburbs such as Thane, Dombivali and Ambarnath because of lack of space to lay down additional tracks for this purpose.

Western Railway officials said so at a high-level meeting called by the Bombay High Court to discuss ways to cope with 80 lakh commuters who travel daily by suburban trains on the Western and Central Railway routes. The meeting also discussed safety measures to be undertaken to prevent accidents on railway tracks.

 Mumbai rail woes: Not possible to run trains from Churchgate to Central suburbs, says WR

Representational image. Reuters

The meeting was called as a result of a PIL filed by activist Samir Zaveri regarding deaths due to overcrowding in suburban trains, The Indian Express reported. A high court bench, headed by Justice VN Kanade was hearing the PIL.

On the problem of overcrowding in Mumbai local trains, DNA quoted the court as observing, “Around 80 lakh passengers travel daily by the suburban railways. This could equal the average population of a European country".

According to the report, the court also observed that while Mumbai is the country’s financial capital, "a girl residing along the Western Railway line is hesitant to marry a potential groom living along the Central line, due to overcrowding on trains".

The Western Railway authorities also made a presentation on deaths related to overcrowding in trains and explained the court that casualties came down from 4,319 in 2015 to 3,641 till November 2016 on the Central line. The report prepared by the railway authorities added that most victims are between the age group of 21 and 40 years, The Indian Express added.

Interestingly, the court proposed a potential solution to the problem, directing the Western Railways to draw a circular timetable for Virar-bound trains from Churchgate during peak hours, the DNA report added.

And while the issue of safety of passengers was raised by the Bombay High Court, the Maharashtra government is pondering on a decision to withdraw all the ambulances provided to the suburban stations, a Mumbai Mirror report said on Friday.

According to the tabloid, the government has cited under-utilisation of the ambulances and lack of funds as the reasons behind its likely decision. If the move is approved, this will be in contravention of a 2015 Bombay High Court ruling which directed the railways to provide emergency medical services at all suburban railway stations.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Dec 09, 2016 12:44:41 IST