Wildcat stir by Mumbai train drivers paralyses Central Railway


Rail traffic was thrown out of gear for over two hours with the sudden agitation, which
started around noon when the morning peak hours had ended. Commuters were caught unawares and left stranded at various points on the CR network that serves eastern Mumbai.
P. Bhatnagar of the Central Railway Mazdoor Sangh (CRMS) told reporters that the Thane train disaster should be probed thoroughly and train drivers -- called motormen -- should be entitled to stress-free working conditions. They are also demanding that driver vacancies be filled up fast.
"There is a huge backlog of vacancies and motormen are compelled to work overtime at low allowances. We want this to stop," Bhatnagar said.
Commuters had a harrowing time.
"We had absolutely no idea why the trains suddenly stopped at Byculla station. All indicators also went on the blink and thousands of commuters tried to organise alternative modes of transport," said financial consultant J. Pallicha, who took a cab to his office at Masjid Bunder.
A CR official said a meeting had been called to hammer out a solution and get motormen back to their work cabins before evening peak hours begin.
The CR, which includes the Harbour Line, serves the eastern part of Mumbai and is used by over four million commuters daily.
The agitation led to trains queuing up on all tracks and the arrival and departures of long distance trains being impacted.
In a freak accident last week, a bridge carrying a huge water pipeline came crashing down on a moving suburban train in Thane, killing two people, including the driver R. Ramachandran, who was trapped in the engine cabin for hours and died before he could be rescued.

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