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Suburban locals from Churchgate to Thane?

Bombay High Court asks railways to consider starting trains originating from Churchgate to central suburbs like Thane, Dombivali, Kalyan etc.

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At a time when several deaths are occurring due to overcrowding in suburban trains the Bombay High Court has suggested Railways to consider starting trains from Churchgate to central suburbs like Thane, Dombivali, Ambernath for easing the pressure on Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). Activist Sameer Zaveri had filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court raising the issue of rising number of deaths in local trains due to overcrowding. Already 3,304 people have died while commuting in local trains in 2016 as railways had formed a committee to suggest measures for reducing the number of fatalities. Despite this there has been no respite for commuters residing in distant suburbs like Dombivali, Kalyan, Karjat as many of them have to jostle for space in jam-packed compartments during morning and evening peak hours

A division bench of Justices V M Kanade and Nutan Sardessai said when trains are plying from CST to western suburbs like Andheri and Bandra why can’t trains originate from Churchgate towards central suburbs. At present trains starting from Churchgate connect western suburbs like Bandra, Borivali, Andheri and Virar. Three years back local train services were extended to Dahanu road.

“Several commuters who have offices in Churchgate and Nariman Point area can go to Churchgate station and take trains to central suburbs instead of going all the way to CST. This will reduce the crowd also at CST,” Justice Kanade said. “Let this suggestion be looked into by experts from the field. May be a separate corridor can be set up,” the court said. Advocate Suresh Kumar, appearing for Railways, informed the court that casualties due to heavy crowds had reduced considerably in the harbour railway track after the introduction of 12 bogies (also called car rakes), but overcrowding persists on the western and central railway routes.

Arun Gadekar a financial executive working with a broking firm at Nariman Point said, “Often I have to hire a cab or board a bus for reaching CST. If railways start suburban services from Churchgate to central suburbs then I can save time and reach home early.”

Ravi Kumar a marketing executive working with a multinational firm in Colaba said, “Sometimes I reach my office late when punctuality of local trains get affected during peak hours in the morning. If railways introduce this service it will reduce the hassles of those people residing in Thane, Kalyan, Dombivali and beyond.”  The court also sought to know if Railways was running into losses or was in profit. “I remember when Lalu Prasad Yadav was the Railways minister the Railways was running profitably. Now we do not know what the situation is.” The court will hear the petition further on December 8.

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