The suburban train services on Western Railway was disrupted for an hour on Wednesday early morning after commuters staged a rail roko protest at Palghar, Kelwe Road and Saphale railheads on Wednesday morning. The irate commuters were protesting over the change in timings of Dahanu suburban train services which is to be implemented from Thursday (December 3). However, the services resumed after the GRP and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel RPF removed the agitating commuters from the tracks. Railway officials said the timings have been changed temporarily.
This comes after the WR on Tuesday announced to restore from December 3 the timings of four special suburban locals, that are currently being run for emergency services staff, to their original schedules which were effective before the coronavirus-induced lockdown came into force in March.
Currently, the first local train from Dahanu in Palghar district is departing at 4.40 am and reaching Churchgate in south Mumbai at 7.04 am. As per the restored timings to come in effect from Thursday, the train will leave from Dahanu at 5.40 am and reach Andheri in western suburbs at 7.34 am.
Government Railway Police (GRP) official said the passengers agitated over the change in timings following some commuters started a 'rail roko' agitation at Palghar station and sat on tracks there around 5.15 am on Wednesday. Meanwhile, a similar protest was staged at Kelve and Safale stations in Palghar district around 5.30 am. However, the agitation at Palghar station ended around 5.45 am and at the other two stations it ended at 6.30 am.
One of the commuters said currently only 70 per cent of services are being operated by railways and in between that they have changed the timings which will create more problems for all the commuters. “The new revised timetable will lead to chaos at the stations. There is a gap of two hours with no direct train till 5:40 am, leaving many office-goers and emergency workers in the lurch,” he said.
Sumit Thakur, CPRO, WR's said train services on the suburban network are normal now. “We have only decided to restore the special suburban services to their original timings which were effective before the COVID-19 lockdown. We are reviewing the demand of passengers, but we have just restored the original timetable of Dahanu locals and haven't made any change in the timetable,” he said.