A road overbridge collapsed on rail tracks in suburban Andheri amid heavy rains this morning bringing local services of the Western Railways to a halt and affecting some long distance trains, an official said.
Five people were injured in the incident, the Brihamumbai Municipal Corporation said, adding that two of them were seriously hurt. Train services of the Western Railway have been stopped after the bridge, built in 1971, collapsed, a railway official said.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has ordered an inquiry into the incident and directed officials to expedite the repair and traffic restoration work.
Office-goers, for whom local trains are the lifeline for daily commuting, bore the maximum brunt as many of them could not reach their workplaces. Mumbai’s famous tiffin carriers dabbawalas also expressed their inability to operate as the train services on the Western Line were stopped.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has asked the Mumbai police commissioner to ensure smooth traffic movement and asked the BMC to increase its bus service for the convenience of commuters.
The Gokhale road overbridge collapsed near the eastern side of the railway station around 7.30 a.m., a BMC disaster management cell official said.
The Overhead Equipment was damaged and a team of engineers are working to restore services, Western Railways Chief Public Relations Officer Ravinder Bhakar told PTI. “A part of the ROB collapsed, bringing the Up and Down local train services of the WR to a halt. Our officers are at the spot and making efforts to restore the services,” he said.
The structural audit of all foot and road overbridges, including the one which collapsed, is underway, a senior WR official said.
“Five people were reportedly injured, two of them seriously, and admitted to a nearby civic hospital,” the BMC said in a statement.
They were taken to the Cooper Hospital, it said.
Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar alleged that the railway was responsible for the ROB as it passes over rail tracks. However, BJP leaders said it was time to help the stranded commuters rather than indulging in ‘blame game’.
Mumbai NCP chief Sachin Ahir termed it as ‘another failure’ of authorities and criticised the ruling BJP and the Shiv Sena for not doing enough for residents of the megacity.
Guardian minister of suburban Mumbai Vinod Tawde said the railways should conduct a thorough probe into the incident.
Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam said the Railway Minister should ensure hassle-free and fearless journey for the travellers.
“The regular occurrence of accidents has shaken the confidence of rail passengers,” he said in a video message.
Some long-distance express trains were cancelled and rescheduled because of the ROB collapse.
The Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST), the civic body's transport provider, is running 27 special buses between Borivali and Bandra.
The WR has also made arrangements for the refund of tickets of passengers travelling by long-distance trains which were cancelled because of the incident.
As a special case, Western Railways commuters were permitted to travel on alternate routes of the Central Railway, the Western Railways said in a statement.
Private carriers Vistara and Jet Airways said they would accommodate passengers running late due to traffic congestion because of the incident.
Local trains are running between Churchgate (in south Mumbai) and Bandra (in the western suburbs), and between Virar (located in neighbouring Palghar district) and Goregaon (western suburb), another WR official said.
Personnel of the fire brigade, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the Mumbai Police, the railway police and local ward of the BMC are at the spot and working to clear the debris and repair the damaged OHE, a civic official said.
“Incessant rains apparently caused cracks in the ROB, resulting in its collapse. Thankfully, no train was passing on the track under the bridge at that time,” he said.
The chief minister has asked the Mumbai Police and the BMC to ensure smooth movement of the traffic, the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said.
The city traffic police have issued an advisory to commuters about which routes to follow in view of the bridge collapse.
Officials said waterlogging and disruption of traffic was reported from several parts of the city.
Residents are unlikely to get respite from the inclement weather as the meteorological department has forecast heavy rainfall today and tomorrow in Mumbai and its neighbouring areas.