Theft of batteries halts Mumbai suburban trains

Mumbai, June 20 (IANS) Millions of peak-hour commuters were left stranded for around an hour when a power glitch paralysed the suburban train services of the Western Railway here on Monday.

The commuters were left stranded across the network from around 11.15 a.m. as a major power failure stopped all trains, an official spokesperson said here.

The glitch occurred due to the theft of 18 electric batteries of 12 AH capacity from the Mahim electrical sub-station at Mahim, leading to disruption of the suburban traffic on the two fast and two slow corridors between Churchgate and Virar as also the fifth corridor used mainly for long-distance trains.

The Government Railway Police is investigating the theft.

Due to the theft, there was no back-up supply to OHE circuit near Dadar, leading to disruption in the services.

Officials said the battery boxes are used for back-up and charging purposes in case of minor tripping or fluctuation in overhead electric (OHE) power supply and also protect electric circuits.

The Western Railway technical teams managed to rectify the problem on a war-footing and restore overhead traction power supply by around 12.10 p.m.

The suburban services were restored gradually from 12.18 p.m. onwards, but not before 60 peak hour services were cancelled and around 100 others delayed.

Thousands of harried commuters opted to complete their journeys either by Central Railway or Harbour Line or BEST city buses which were deployed to clear the huge rush.

Many others preferred to take the day off or work from home rather than waste time trying to reach their offices across the metropolis.

On an average, over 7.50 million commuters use the Mumbai suburban trains network, the lifeline of the city which services even far-flung area of Thane, Palghar and Raigad.

–IANS

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