AFTER almost three weeks of erratic or stalled train operations between Pune and Mumbai, Central Railway services between the two cities will return to normal from Saturday. Train traffic was disrupted due to damage to the railway track and other infrastructure in the ghat section on the route, as well as a long-pending repair project that was delayed due to excessive rainfall in the region earlier this month.
The services of major trains Deccan Queen, Intercity Express, Sinhagad Express, Deccan Express and Indrayani Express were hampered for over two to three weeks. These trains are used by thousands of commuters who travel between the two cities, including those who commute every day for work.
Sunil Udasi, chief public information officer for Central Railway, said the repair work has been completed to an extent and services can be restored now. The remaining work on the route will continue, he said. The damage to train tracks and tunnels due to landslide and other rainfall-related incidents was significant and it required a lot of work. Our teams worked day and night to repair the damages and restore services at the earliest. From Friday, we started a few trains from Pune as well as a couple from Mumbai. From Saturday, the regular train service between Pune and Mumbai will be restored, said Udasi.
On Friday, Sinhagad Express, Intercity Express and Indrayani Express plied from Pune for Mumbai while Sinhagad Express and Deccan Queen plied from Mumbai to Pune. From Saturday, all six trains between the two cities Deccan Queeen, Intercity express, Sinhagad Express, Indrayani Express, Deccan Express and Pragati Express will ply as per the regular schedule.
Officials said a large number of trains between Pune and Mumbai were cancelled over the last three weeks as the tracks were damaged at over a dozen places between Karjat and Lonavala, and in the ghat sections of the Badlapur-Karjat stretch. Landslides along the route, waterlogging in Mumbai and Thane regions and incessant downpour in Mumbai further affected train traffic.
In the Karjat-Lonavala section, the tracks were damaged at nine sites, including both up and down lines. The tracks were also damaged at three locations in the Badlapur-Karjat section and repaired using additional workpower and machinery, said officials.
The damage was caused by overflowing of rivers … the remaining work will be carried out parallely as the trains operate. On Thursday, officials carried out a safety inspection in the stretch that was repaired and found it safe for operations, said Udasi.