MUMBAI: In a huge relief to Mumbaikars, heavy rains took a break on Wednesday and the slight improvement in the weather allowed the authorities to resume suburban train services in some sections. The road traffic was moving smoothly after four days of heavy rains, which had crippled life in the country's financial capital. Trains were packed with commuters since morning on Wednesday and the Western Railway (WR) was running its services on some routes with restricted speed as the tracks were still flooded.
The local train services were badly affected on a section of the WR on Tuesday due to inundation of tracks. Though train services resumed on some routes, rail tracks at several stations were still water-logged. The Western Railway also set up Helpline numbers for the convenience of the stranded passengers. At least two persons were also killed in rain-related incidents in Maharashtra’s Palghar.
In just 10 days, the Mumbai city received 864.5 mm rain, which is nearly equal to what it gets in an entire month, the MeT department said.
The local trains, considered the lifeline of Mumbai, were suspended between Nallasopara and Virar stations on Tuesday, causing huge inconvenience to those travelling on the busy western line.
Today, scores of commuters flocked the railway stations looking for local trains to reach their destinations, WR chief spokesperson Ravinder Bhakar said.
"Hence, we decided to start local train services with a cautionary note. At 6.45 am, we started services between Churchgate (in south Mumbai) and Bhayander (Thane district) stations with a restricted speed of 10-kmph," he said.
"Services between Virar and Dahanu Road (in adjoining Palghar district) have also commenced," Bhakar said, adding senior railway officials were keeping a close watch on the restoration efforts.
The railway official said though the water receded on tracks near the Nallasopara station (located in adjoining Palghar district), it was still "not at a safe level" to run trains.
The suburban train services between Bhayander and Virar will commence once the water level on tracks comes down further, he said.
"Our suburban services are normalising, but regular services will be started only after the water recedes to a safe level on all lines," Bhakar informed.
The empty stranded rakes of some long-distance trains are also being cleared one by one from tracks, he said.
The Central Railway's local train services on its main line and harbour line were running late by 5 to 10 minutes today, a Central Railway (CR) spokesperson said.
The heavy downpour on Tuesday had caused flooding at Vasai, Nallasopara and Virar stations, leading to cancellation of many long-distance trains.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), police and fire brigade personnel had rescued 2,000 passengers of Shatabdi Express and Vadodara Express.
Meanwhile, Minister Vinod Tawde will be returning to the city from Nagpur, where he was attending the Legislative Assembly session to review the situation in the city following heavy rains.
The minister is expected to hold important meetings with senior officials of the city civic body and police, and discuss the arrangements being made to tackle the monsoon menace, a source said.
Since the onset of monsoon, Mumbai has so far received almost 60 percent of its required annual rainfall, the MeT said.
The weather department has predicted ''heavy to very heavy rainfall'' in the city and its neighbouring areas till Saturday.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's disaster management cell also said that intermittent rain with heavy to very heavy showers is likely over the city and suburbs in the next 24 hours.
Navy evacuates stranded commuters from Nallasopara railway station
The Navy was deployed to evacuate train commuters stranded at the Nallasopara station due to flooding of railway tracks between Nallasopara and Vasai Road stations, said reports.
Following a request from the Western Railway, the Western Naval Command deployed high-chassis vehicles that could traverse the flooded areas and reach the stranded commuters, a Defence spokesperson said.
The Western Naval Command has been maintaining rescue teams and emergency equipment to provide assistance to Mumbaikars in emergent situations, the spokesperson said.
(With PTI inputs)