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Mumbai: Central Railway starts 63-hour mega block, commuters face delay, rush on local train

Mumbai: Central Railway starts 63-hour mega block, commuters face delay, rush on local train
Users of the Central Railway's suburban services faced delays and overcrowding on Friday morning after a 63-hour-long block commenced to widen platforms at Thane. The mega block, which started at Thursday midnight, has affected the suburban services on CR's main corridor, causing inconvenience to lakhs of office-goers.

The Maharashtra government on Friday permitted all public service vehicles in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) to carry out stage carriage operations during the mega block, an official said.

The government issued a notification in the afternoon, more than 12 hours after the 63-hour block commenced, permitting public service vehicles, including buses, taxis and autorickshaws, to ferry passengers from any point, he said.

The government has granted permission under section 66 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988, the official said.

Another transport department official said taxis, auto rickshaws and contract carriage buses can pick up and drop passengers at multiple locations as per the notification.

Commuters complained of delays of up to 30 minutes, packed local trains and overcrowding at major stations due to the block scheduled for widening platforms 5 and 6 at Thane station.

CR has already announced that at least six long-distance trains and 161 local services will remain cancelled on Friday due to the block.

Anticipating delays and overcrowding, railway authorities have urged commuters to avoid suburban train journeys if not absolutely necessary.

They have also appealed to public and private establishments to allow their employees to work from home or provide them alternate means of transport during the block period, besides asking state and municipal transport bodies to run extra buses.

During the block between Friday and Sunday, 72 long-distance and 930 suburban services will remain cancelled, a senior official had said on Thursday.

A CR spokesperson said they have completed some work well before schedule, and things will improve soon.

"The track slewing work (shifting track sideways from its normal position) at Thane station has been completed. Tamping (packing ballast under tracks) and blasting of the track are currently in progress. The up slow line was declared fit at 8.04 am, well ahead of its scheduled time of 12.30 pm," he said.

The official added that local trains, considered Mumbai's lifeline, are currently running 15 to 20 minutes behind schedule, but the situation was expected to improve by 10.30 am.

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