Boulder fall cripples Mumbai-Nashik train services

नासिक Nasik (NK): Thousands of long-distance passengers were stranded on different stretches of Central Railway after a boulder fell on the tracks close to Igatpuri station on the Nashik-Kasara line on Wednesday. Officials attributed the fall to incessant rains in the region.

The incident was reported about 8.30 am at a spot nearly 4 km from Igatpuri and the barreling rock took the overhead wires along with it. The immediate effect of the mishap was that several trains that were close to Nashik and Igatpuri had to be halted.

What compounded the problem was the timing as the morning hours are among the most busy as far as trains coming from the east and north into Mumbai on CR’s lines are concerned. Local train commuters were spared from inconvenience as the boulder-hit site is out of CR’s suburban limits.

On any normal day, the North-East section of CR that is the Kasara-Nashik stretch sees close to 160 train movements, including 50 pairs of mail and express trains that come into and go out of Mumbai and 10 pairs of goods trains in and out of Mumbai. On Wednesday, the movements had come down to less than 10 said CR officials.

Among the trains that got stalled immediately were the 12262 Howrah-Mumbai Duronto and the 13201 Patna-Kurla LTT Express, both trains which generally come into the city packed. This incident also meant that there was a bunching of long-distance trains in the city – on the fifth line right from Bhandup to Vidyavihar, just at the entrance of Kurla Terminus.

Most passengers on the Kurla LTT-Muzaffarpur Express, which was stuck near Bhandup station, were seen squatting along the tracks. “There is no announcement or clarity on when the train would move,” said Rakesh Vishwakarma.

The boulder fall also caused operational hardship for the train-runners – one driver got hurt while piloting a train – as well as passengers as CR decided to run several trains from Igatpuri instead of Mumbai. This meant that passengers with tickets on those train from Mumbai would have to reach Igatpuri somehow to board their train.

While top CR officials rushed to the spot, authorities pressed two specially equipped trains to fix the overhead wires and the tracks. Officials around 6pm said that the tentative time for the clearing of the line was 9pm on Wednesday.