Mumbai : Ever wondered why the local train one is travelling in, has stopped for so long between two stations? Or, why has it suddenly slowed down and begun crawling at certain points?

Railway officials say one of the main reasons for this are the innumerable `crossovers’ on the tracks. A crossover is a switch from one track to another. To switch tracks, the local train needs a green signal which it does not get in time as the local train ahead is crawling.
And the main reason why trains are crawling is that there are too many of them crowding the tracks. Services are being increased but the tracks and the signalling system remain the same, say officials. The major crossovers causing delays are at Borivali, Goregaon and Santa Cruz where the track shifts from fast to slow and vice-a-versa.
Western Railway commuters say that over the past six months local trains take longer to reach their destinations. For instance, they complain that the Borivli-Churchgate journey which used to take 45 minutes in a fast train now takes one hour. They also complain that trains do not arrive at the platform on time during peak as well as non-peak hours. On Monday, the delay stretched to 20 minutes.
WR divisional railway manager, Shailendra Kumar said, “It is true that trains are being forced to slow down at crossovers and we are trying to rectify the problem but the work requires a lot of planning as well as funds.”
Then, there are problems with crossovers too.“There is hardly any space for crossovers to be long enough for a quick and smooth change of tracks, therefore trains are forced to run at almost three km per hour at certain spots,” a railway source said.
WR says it is desperately trying to maintain the punctuality of local trains and are trying to increase the speed at a crossover to 15 to 30 km per hour. Authorities are planning to start work on the Churchgate to Borivali section soon.

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