As heavy rains continue to pour down in Mumbai and Pune, commuters between these two cities are set for tough times ahead. Heavy rain, waterlogging, along with landslides, has forced the Indian Railways to temporarily shut the rail routes. By Bayar Jain
Throughout the year, the Mumbai–Pune rail route witnesses a high number of commuters, daily. These numbers shoot up during festivals such as Rakshabandhan and Independence Day. Naturally, then, it is safe to assume the numbers would increase more than usual this year due to the concurrence of the two festivals. However, heavy rains have made this commute difficult. The Indian Railways’ Central Railway, the division responsible for a large part of the rail routes in Maharashtra, has decided to cancel trains on the Mumbai-Pune railway network till August 16, 2019. Heavy rain, waterlogging, along with landslides, has rendered these routes unviable, resulting in this decision.
Earlier, the routes were expected to reopen before the festive weekend, however, the condition of the tracks and mountainside routes are still unstable. Keeping this in mind, the trains are now expected to restart on August 16. Additionally, the Miraj-Londa section of South Western Railway has also been cancelled until August 16. Trains such as Deccan Queen, Intercity Express, Sinhagad Express, Mahalaxmi Express, Pragati Express, Okha-Tamil Nadu Express, and Konya Express have been delayed due to the same reasons. In fact, over 370 local trains and over 500 long-distance trains have either been terminated or diverted from the affected routes.
The rains have also resulted in some trains being waterlogged and getting stuck in floodwater midway to their final destinations. Hoping to speed up these rescue operations, the Central Railway is even planning on buying ten boats instead of waiting for a disaster response team. These boats are expected to come equipped with life jackets. Moreover, the boats will also double as food packet delivery vehicles for passengers stuck in the flood. An anti-flooding squad will be formed by the Railway Police Force to roll out these rescue operations and manage boats.