MUMBAI : Signal and engine failures are major factors behind the lack of punctuality of suburban and long distance trains running in the Western Railway’s Mumbai division, that carries nearly 35 lakh passengers every day.

Railway activist Samir Zaveri sought data on the number of failures related to signals, engines and track fractures since January 1, 2016. Zaveri lost both his legs in a train accident in 1989. “The number of signal failures were 1,541 in the financial year 2016-17. It dipped by almost 38% in the following year. But it rose by 12% in 2018-19. Despite the advance in technology and maintenance practices, the number of failures has not ebbed,” he said.

In case of engine failures, the number has substantially increased. This means locomotives are not maintained properly, said Zaveri. The number increased from 512 in 2016-17 to 811in 2018-19, which is a nearly 60% rise.

Zaveri said, “Engine failures on running lines are frustrating, as another locomotive has to be called to haul the defective one, which is a timeconsuming process. It not only disturbs the traffic on the affected line, but also on other adjacent lines as trains have to be diverted to clear a path.”

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