Local trains on Mumbai's main Central line are running about 45 minutes late this morning, sending the metropolis into a rush hour crisis. The delay has been caused by a fire last night at the Kurla and Vidyavihar signalling cabins damaging some equipment.
The fire, which broke out at midnight, was brought under control soon. But the damage to equipment meant that trains have had to be piloted manually this morning at three or four signals between Kurla and Vidyavihar causing the peak hour delay. Early morning commuters affected by the delay protested angrily saying the authorites had not shared information or made announcements.
Of the seven million people who commute daily on Mumbai's local trains, close to 4 million use the main Central line every day. It connects people from far flung suburbs of central Mumbai like Kalyan, Dombivali, Thane to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). Some key stations on this line are CST, Dadar, Ghatkoper, Thane and Kalyan. Several trains connecting Mumbai to Pune have also been affected.
"The central railway trains were affected after, a fire broke out around at 2 signalling cabins. The fire was doused after about half an hour. We are trying to find out the reasons for the mishap. The signalling equipment has been damaged badly. it has affected the train traffic badly," said S Malegoakar, the Chief Public Relations Officer of the Central Railway.
Senior railway officials are supervising efforts to restore signalling at Kurla.