That's three in 15 days. What, you ask? We are talking about rail fractures on the Central Railway. And, it seems, finally the authorities are getting the right amount of worry, considering the fact that they plan to add 40 services by August.
Sources in CR said the latest rail fracture happened near Chembur around 9.34 am, affecting the Up (CST-bound) trains till 10.03 am. During this period, several services were cancelled, some delayed, and a few even stopped mid-way.
Officials said there were four cancellations and 30 delays. As Harbour has one each on Down and Up slow lines, it became more difficult for authorities to normalise operations.
More not better?
The previous rail fractures happened at Kalyan and Thakurli on April 25 and 28, respectively. Of the 1,623 services CR runs daily, 700-odd are on the Harbour line. And of the 40 it plans to add in a few months, 14 are likely to be on the trans-harbour section, 12 on Harbour and the rest on the Main line. Workers' unions, however, are not happy with the news of more services, saying that the schedule is quite tight, and that they hardly get any time for maintenance work. With more services, punctuality could take a hit if tracks, OHEs and other rail assets aren't maintained properly, they added.
"Our people will get less time for maintaining the tracks if services are increased. The administration should ensure that the shutdown period is properly monitored and not breached," said V Solanki, divisional chairman, CRMS.
Rail fractures and point failures have been on the rise. Railway officials admitted that there were serious engineering issues and that maintenance wasn't being done thoroughly. A lack of ballasts for cushioning, garbage thrown on tracks, and insufficient gangmen to maintain tracks have made it worse.
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