Mumbai: The Railway authorities today submitted before the Bombay High Court a report of an expert committee to examine gaps between footboards of local trains and railway platforms here in view of mishaps occurring in the suburban route.
The committee has recommended in its report that the optimum height of suburban platforms was 900 mm and in any case should not exceed 920 mm as there was a risk that the rakes could hit the platform.
The report was placed before a bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah, which decided to hear on March 20 the plan of action drawn up by Railway authorities to implement the measures suggested by the Committee.
Counsel for the Railways Suresh Kumar asked four weeks time to submit the action plan. However, the court said it would consider its plea for granting time on the next occasion.
The bench had taken up the issue suo motu, as a 16-year- old college girl Monica More, lost her arms after falling into a gap between the platform at the suburban Ghatkopar station while trying to board a train last month.
The tragic incident brought to the fore the risk lakhs of commuters face daily in boarding crowded suburban local trains, the “lifelines” of Mumbai.
The bench had asked the expert committee to inspect each and every platform on the Central and Western Railways routes and decide how much space should be left between the platforms and the footboards of trains so that mishaps could be avoided.
The report of the committee said that trials had been conducted by a Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) team on all the platforms having 920 mm height using both varieties of suburban rake and mail/express rake.
The minimum clearance (gap between platform and footboard of rake) was 44 mm for air spring coaches and 34 mm for coil spring coaches in fully-loaded condition. Thus, special care will have to be taken in case of coil-spring rakes especially during monsoon, the report said.
The Committee said it has found that increasing height of platforms beyond 920 mm was not possible within the present design of platform coach interface.
The Railways had earlier informed the court that it had increased the height of suburban platforms at nine railway stations including Grant Road and Dadar. However, the court directed the expert committee to inspect these nine platforms along with others.
The court reprimanded the Railways for keeping wide gaps between the platforms and footboards of trains thereby putting the lives of lakhs of commuters at great risk.
The Railways have said in an affidavit that the gap between the footboards of local trains and platforms is not the sole cause behind commuters losing their life or limb in mishaps but there were several other factors involved like crossing of tracks, trespassing and over-crowding.