Pantograph break derails Central Railway schedule

Central Railway services are disrupted for an hour as an overhead wire broke between Thane and Kalwa station. Deepak Kurkunde. Commuters were severely inconvenienced; stuck for more than 40 minutes

Mumbai: Commuters were severely inconvenienced after 50 Central Railway trains were cancelled and 150 trains were delayed on Friday after an overhead wire broke at Thane platform number 1 and 2, and a pantograph broke after the overhead wire began to sag at platform no 2.

The overhead wire on the slow track towards Kalyan and beyond was reported to be broken at 9.53 am and services resumed only at 12.30 pm in the afternoon, causing delays of about two-and-a-half hours on the its slow line and of about two hours on the fast line. The series of failures had occurred when a CST to Kalyan-bound train was switching from a Direct Current (DC) of 1,500 volts to Alternating Current (AC) of 25,000 volts. An official revealed, “We have around 22 points between Thane and Mumbra where the motorman has to keep switching from DC to AC or vice versa and when this switch happens, it has to be extremely smooth. We had thought that the conversion between CST and Thane from DC to AC would be complete by now but it is because of this incomplete conversion that such incidents will keep happening in the future as well.”

Officials have also revealed that 20 electrical failures have occurred on the CR in the past six months. “We have seen situations like we saw on Friday — overhead wires breaking, pantograph breaking/snagging and power trips about 20 times in the past six months and this will keep happening unless the system is shifted to one electrical system entirely,” he added.

The CR, which had originally thought of converting CST to Thane to AC on Saturday, has pushed their plans to May 26 or 30 because of the refusal by the commissioner of railway safety (CRS) to give the safety certificate.

CR, divisional railway manager, Amitabh Ohja who went to the site to inspect the failure said, “We do think that the primary reason to change is when the train was shifting from DC to AC but we are still looking into other factors that might have caused the issue.”

Commuters who were on their way to work like content writer Pooja Joe (25) from Vashi to Thane said that her train was stuck at Airoli for more than 45 minutes. “My train was at Airoli station at 11 am when the train just stopped and didn’t move for 45 minutes towards Thane.”After learning about the situation, she took off and caught a cab.

Railway minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered Railway Board officials in Delhi to visit the city and inspect why the number of electrical failures have increased on CR.