Local train commuters fume as railway plies smaller rakes

PUNE: Daily commuters on Lonavla-bound local trains faced severe hardships in the last three days after some coaches were disconnected by the Central Railway Pune division. About 20 trips ran with nine coaches, instead of 12 coaches leading to overcrowding. Besides the removal of coaches, two trips on the Pune-Lonavla route were cancelled during rush hours on Monday.

Commuters said smaller rakes were plied without prior intimation.

Shailesh Chaudhari, a regular commuter on the route, said: “The commuters faced problems due fewer coaches. We were left clueless about the change since no announcement was made at stations. Besides removal of coaches, trains also ran late.”

Vishal Dauda, another commuter, said, “Male passengers were seen travelling in ladies’ compartments in the past three days. Many were not able to catch the train because of overcrowding.”

If railway administration in Mumbai can provide updates to commuters about sudden changes, then it can be done for trains on Lonavla route, he said.

About 40,000 commuters travel in local trains to Lonavla and Talegaon every day. The administration has allotted four rakes on these routes with each rake comprising 12 coaches.

An official from administration said: “Of the four rakes, one faced a technical problem due to which 3 coaches were removed on Monday. This rake was plied with nine coaches instead of 12 for two days. The problem was rectified on Wednesday afternoon. Efforts were made to restrict cancellation of trips. A team of technical experts were called from Mumbai to rectify the problem,” official said.

Hemant Tapale of Pune-Mumbai Railway Pravasi Sangh said an additional rake at Pune station can be used in a crisis.