Mumbai: Hundreds of commuters demonstrated on the carshed railway line near Kalwa Station in Thane on Friday, blocking the path of an empty AC local for 20 minutes.
They were demanding restoration of non-AC local services.
Railway Protection Force (RPF), Government Railway Police and local police arrived at the site and cleared the track.
RPF officials confirmed the incident and said around half a dozen protesters were detained, and later released on furnishment of bonds.
A case of disturbing rail operations and damaging railway properties has been registered against the protesters, the officials said.
Some protesters work in government organisations, and the railways plans to send notices and ask their bosses to take action.
On Independence Day Central Railway had announced that it would replace 10 regular non-AC locals with AC ones from August 19. While AC commuters welcomed the move, non-AC passengers objected. During peak hours, many commuters board the non-AC locals from the Kalwa carshed since the station is overcrowded. Now the Railways has started taking against such passengers since boarding trains from the carshed is not permitted.
Siddhesh Desai, a member of Kalwa commuters’ association, said passengers are yet to see any benefits despite some changes at Kalwa. “They don’t get a chance to board trains due to overcrowding. Now that normal service is also getting converted to AC, the option of boarding trains from the carshed is gone.”
“If a platform is built at Kalwa, lakhs of commuters can start their journey from there instead of Thane.”
“Until August 18, the Thane-CSMT 8.20am service was non-AC and the rake was parked at Kalwa carshed. That is why commuters from nearby areas were boarding from there. But from the service became AC. The train is equipped with automatic door closure systems and no one was able to board. The crowd was frustrated, hence the protest,” said Somesh Chavan, 32, a resident of Kalwa.
Another commuter, Siraj Khan, 34, said introduction of more AC locals was good, but it should not be done at the cost of normal service. “All Mumbaikars know the crowd level at platforms during rush hours.”
Asked about the protest, Shivaji Sutar, chief public relations officer of CR, said: “An empty rake of AC local heading towards Thane was detained by people for about 20 minutes – from 8.10am to 8.30am. The protesters were taken into custody by city police. The main line was unaffected.”