Mumbai

Commuters slug it out as WR demolishes British-era ROB

Massive task: Workers of the Western Railway dismantle the girders of Frere ROB on Saturday night.

Massive task: Workers of the Western Railway dismantle the girders of Frere ROB on Saturday night.  

Extra buses between Churchgate, Mumbai Central barely enough to bear load

Commuters on the Western Railway (WR) had a harrowing time on Saturday, with the demolition of the British-era Frere road overbridge (ROB) between Grant Road and Charni Road stations necessitating an eight-hour mega block between Churchgate and Mumbai Central starting at 10.15 p.m.

The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking deployed extra buses between Churchgate and Mumbai Central stations to ease the crowds, but commuters were spilling out of the buses.

The WR had announced a mega block from 10.15 p.m. on Saturday to 6.15 a.m. on Sunday so that the dismantling of the girders of Frere ROB could be carried out. The work of dismantling the bridge began on January 16.

“Around 220 metric tonnes of steel and a 350 sq.m. slab have been removed within a short period of 24 days. The work also involved shifting of MTNL cables and overhead equipment installations. Two main girders weighing around 35 tonnes each and two end cross girders weighing 15 tonnes each were removed,” said Gajanan Mahatpurkar, spokesperson, WR.

The dismantling work of the Frere ROB, built in 1921, was completed during the eight-hour block.

However, commuters outside Churchgate station were compelled to look for other means of transport during the period. People gathered in large numbers on Maharshi Karve Road outside Churchgate station looking for taxis and buses to ply to Mumbai Central or Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT). Besides the daily commuters, the last weekend of the Kalaghoda festival brought many people to the two stations.

“I wanted to board a train for Andheri but it was only after I reached the station that I learnt about the mega block. The buses towards Mumbai Central station were overcrowded and therefore I had to board a taxi to CSMT. Taxi drivers also took the chance and charged three times the amount for a sharing seat,” said one of the commuters who was at Churchgate station during the mega block.

BEST had deployed extra buses on route number 82 from Mantralaya to Worli to help passengers travel between Mumbai Central and Churchgate.

“Six extra buses were deployed on the route from 10 p.m. on Saturday till 1 a.m. on Sunday and from 3 a.m. till 7 a.m. on Sunday morning for the benefit of train passengers,” said Manoj Varade, spokesperson, BEST.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 7:05:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/commuters-slug-it-out-as-wr-demolishes-british-era-rob/article30778588.ece

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