Suburban train services to remain suspended during lockdown
Skeletal WR, CR staff still working to aid freight operations
The city’s lifeline, the suburban train network, will remain suspended until April 14, as the Indian Railways decided on Wednesday to extend its nationwide suspension of passenger services, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown.
However, the Mumbai divisions of both Central and Western railways will continue to have skeletal staff across their jurisdiction to aid freight operations. “There are over 1,000 railway employees who continue to work to ensure that essential commodities reach the city and there are no issues with freight operations,” a senior Central Railway (CR) official said.
While Western Railway (WR) has loaded 130 rakes to supply essential commodities such as petroleum, oil and lubricants, salt, cement, coal and containers, CR has loaded 74 rakes of coal, 45 rakes of containers, six rakes of fertilisers, 15 rakes of petrol, oil and lubricants, and one rake of onion for various destinations across the country. CR also transported coal for various power plants from Nagpur.
WR’s Mumbai division has started manufacturing sanitisers for internal consumption at its Lower Parel workshop. Officials said they were also geared up to convert their workshop to manufacture other essential items such as masks.
CR has converted a Railway Protection Force barrack in Mulund into a quarantine zone in case the need arises. Officials said the quarantine facility was initially planned for passengers coming into the city by train, but now will be made available to anyone who needs it.