Rail authorities carry out maintenance work at Mumbai local tracks

The Mumbai suburban rail network operates nearly 3,000 local train services everyday, and over 80 lakhs commuters use the suburban train daily. The lockdown restriction has temporarily stopped all train services, including the Mumbai suburban rail network, which is one of the busiest and crowded rail networks in the world.

The suburban local train service is the lifeline of Mumbai’s 80 lakh commuters, including students, working professionals, dabbawalas, and other common men. The lockdown has turned the lives of many upside down, but has provided a great opportunity to the Mumbai divisions of the Central Railway and Western Railway to carry out safety and maintenance works on the suburban tracks, which is impossible during the regular days.

The Central and Western Railway authorities have begun maintenance of suburban tracks, the rail signalling system, overhead equipment, and the rolling stock. During the regular busy days, it was highly not possible to do careful maintenance and safety works as even a disruption of rail service for 15 minutes led to chaotic situations. The railway authorities never found sufficient time to do critical maintenance work, a railway official said.

“The Western Railway is using this as an opportunity to complete the maintenance works wherever required, since getting a traffic block in this division is a big challenge,” said Ravinder Bhaskar, the Chief of Western Railways.

The authorities are inspecting every inch of 1,394 km track during the lockdown. Ultrasonic flaw detectors tested about 210 km of tracks and 1,250 critical welds. Ravinder Bhasker also said that “The entire fleet of track machines has worked and done tamping of 99 km of track and 105 turnouts. For the health assessment of the tracks, the Oscillation Monitoring System (OMS) run was conducted on 2,503 km of the railway track.”

The Central Railway’s Chief spokesperson, Shivaji Sutar, said that some critical works like removal of rusty portal booms,the electric test of signal and telecom cables, cleaning, and maintenance of transformers for the entire Mumbai division is being carried out.

“This period has also been utilised to carry out critical works to enhance the safety of train operations. The workplaces are sanitised, and all social distancing norms are followed,” Sutar added.

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