Rail traffic in Mumbai took a massive hit on Tuesday after a section of a bridge at Andheri - one of Mumbai's busiest rain lines - caved in following heavy rain in the city.
The collapse of Gokhale Bridge left five people injured, but the damage could have been far worse since at least three jam-packed suburban trains had passed by, seconds before the bridge caved in on the railway tracks, according to news agency IANS.
The bridge, running east to west over the Andheri station, collapsed during peak hours this morning, paralysing the suburban and long-distance train services on the Western Railway.
"The bridge was 40-years-old and had a few design flaws," said Railway Minister Piyush Goel after visiting the site of collapse in Andheri, adding that the bridge was last audited in 2017 and the results did not show any abnormalities. He has ordered a probe to be completed within 15 days.
The railway minister also assured that 445 bridges across the suburban train lines will go through a safety audit that will examine flaws in design and construction.
Services on all four suburban railway lines were affected following the incident coupled with heavy rain in the city affecting some eight million commuters.
The incident comes nine months after the Elphinstone Road foot over bridge crashed following a stampede that left 23 commuters dead.
The bridge crash damaged a portion of the platform roof, blocked railway lines and damaged high-tension electric wires and overhead power equipment, according to an IANS report.
Officials carried on the process to clear debris from the tracks which blocked services in both directions.
According to the Western Railways spokesperson CNK David, the portion of the bridge crashed at 7.37 am on the southern-end of the Andheri platform numbers 7-8.
The restoration work is in full swing and we hope to resume normal train services in the next few hours," Mr David was quoted as saying.
"Services on the Harbor Line have been restored, rail services on three lines to resume operations by evening, we are looking to restore all services by tomorrow morning," Railway Minister Piyush Goel said.
As lakhs of commuters remain stranded, many were seen walking across railway tracks to the nearest station, civic transport body BEST deployed 40 additional bus services between Goregaon and Bandra to clear the rush.
As a precautionary measure, Mumbai police stopped all traffic above and below the Gokhale Bridge until instructed otherwise.
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