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Commuters stage 'rail roko' over change in local train timings in Mumbai


MUMBAI: Train movement on the Western Railway's suburban network here was disrupted for over an hour on Wednesday after commuters sat on tracks at some stations in neighbouring Palghar district to protest against the change in schedule of an early morning local train, GRP officials said.

The Western Railway (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.

Upset over the change in timings, some commuters started a 'rail roko' agitation at Palghar station and sat on tracks there around 5.15 am on Wednesday, a Government Railway Police (GRP) official said.

A number of commuters also staged similar protests at Kelve and Safale stations in Palghar district around 5.30 am, the official said.

Train movement later resumed after the GRP and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel RPF removed the agitating commuters from the tracks, he said.

The agitation at Palghar station ended around 5.45 am and at the other two stations it ended at 6.30 am, he added.

WR's chief public relations officer Sumit Thakur said train services on the suburban network are normal now.

He said the Western Railway has just 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.