Mumbai, July 2 (IANS) Almost like a monsoon miracle, one of the two lifelines of Mumbai, the Western Railway (WR), managed to stay afloat and chug along despite the city notching over 1,000 mm rainfall in the past 72 hours, officials said here on Tuesday.
The WR suburban and long-distance services were affected but they did not completely crash like its counterpart, Central Railway, which remained shut for nearly 15 hours on Tuesday after Mumbai recorded the heaviest 24-hour July rain in 45 years.
WR chief spokesperson Ravinder Bhakar said that the problem region this year was the Palghar area which recorded a massive downpour, more than double of last year’s 550 mm, but the trains ran at a restricted speed for safety.
“With meticulous planning, we had completed all ground works, cleaning of drains and culverts to ensure water levels were at manageable levels of 100-200 mm. The pre-monsoon works involved installing automatic rain gauges at stations, lifting of tracks, conducting drone surveys to ascertain flow of storm waters and constructing three new underground drains through micro-tunneling etc.,” said Bhakar.
Since Sunday, more than 600 officials and supervisors led by WR General Manager A.K. Gupta spent hours at the Mumbai Central control room to monitor the rain situation, ensure uninterrupted services and arrange for passenger facilities.
Accordingly, the suburban section worked near-normal and long-distance trains were run with speed restrictions on the Vasai-Virar (Palghar) section, and after the waters receded, at normal speed by noon on Tuesday.
For the stranded long-distance passengers of nine trains, the WR organised 1,400 breakfast packets, 720 biscuit packets, 720 slice cakes, 540 litres of milk and 2,500 bottles of mineral water, which were distributed with the help of gurdwara volunteers, Zonal Railway Users’ Consultative Committee (ZRUCC) members and local NGOs.
Thirteen long-distance trains on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad sector were cancelled, 12 were short-terminated or partially cancelled, five rescheduled, one diverted and one special service was operated between Dadar and Valsad to clear the stranded passengers, besides five special buses from Surat.