Mumbai, Sep 15 (IANS) At least four commuters, including a woman, were injured and Mumbai’s lifeline – the suburban trains services – were badly hit when eight coaches of a train derailed between Vile Parle and Andheri here on Tuesday, officials said.
The injured were rushed to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Cooper Hospital in Vile Parle. While one, Sudhir Swaminathan, 30, was admitted, three others were allowed to go after treatment, said officials.
It was around 11 a.m., when the packed-to-capacity train from Virar bound for Churchgate on the Western Railway (WR) jumped the tracks with a thundering sound as the motorman (driver) applied emergency brakes.
According to witnesses, the motorman’s alertness to apply the emergency brakes may have helped avert a major tragedy. Fortunately, there was no other train coming from the opposite direction.
The eight derailed coaches effectively choked the two (in Up and Down directions) fast tracks and threw haywire the morning peak-hour office-bound commuter rush.
The train had left Virar around 9.56 a.m. and was jam-packed by the time it reached Andheri, where the derailment occurred.
A WR official said a team of officials and engineers rushed to the site to restore train services.
According to tentative estimates, it may take around 24 hours before complete normalcy was restored, spelling a blow to the advance shopping for the 10-day Ganeshotsav festival starting in the state from Thursday.
The mishap hit not only suburban train schedules but also long-distance trains from Mumbai going towards Gujarat, New Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir.
Officials said several long-distance trains scheduled to depart from Bandra LTT, Dadar and Mumbai Central railway stations were being rescheduled on account of delays. These included Rajdhani Express, August Kranti Rajdhani Express and Karnavati Express, among others.
Similarly, several inbound trains from destinations across the country were being terminated at Borivali, Vasai or Virar stations, and being returned from those stations.
The WR suburban section suffered cancellation of a number of local train services resulting in massive crowds of commuters at all stations beween Virar and Churchgate in both directions.
The effects of the derailment spilled over to the Central Railway, Harbour Line with delays and cancellations in services, besides the two highways passing through the city and other roads as people plumped for alternate modes of transport to reach their destinations.
The city’s public transport utility BEST was asked to deploy additional buses to clear the stranded commuters even as massive traffic jams were witnessed on both the highways and other main and arterial roads across the city.
This is the second derailment on the Mumbai suburban sector in barely 18 hours.
Late on Monday evening, three coaches of a train from Bandra derailed while entering the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, badly hitting home-bound peak-hour commuters on the Central Railway.
Angry commuters demanded the resignation of the WR general manager and other officials for failing to ensure safety and security of commuters with such frequent accidents on their beat.