Passengers Panic as Automatic Doors gets Stuck during Rush Hour Trial

Hundreds of passengers panicked when the doors of the coaches of a non-AC train got stuck during a trial in the rush hours on Tuesday. Dahisar and Nallasopara were among the stations where passengers faced inconvenience.

The Western Railway is conducting the trials of automatic door-closing system in non-AC coaches with an aim to prevent casualties due to falls from trains. The trials were being conducted for the past one week, but the WR decided to hold the testing during peak hours on Tuesday.

Aladies compartment, general second class compartment and the luggage compartment, fitted with automatic door-closing systems, were added to the 12-car Virar-Churchgate local. The trial started at 8 am.

According to sources, the automatic door-closing system was affected due to overcrowding. The impatient behaviour of commuters was also responsible for the panic. When the train arrived at Dahisar station, the commuters were surprised to see doors with a gleaming orange light that flashed when they opened or closed it. Continuous announcements were being made about the trials.

However, there were several commuters who were trying to manually open the compartment after the doors were shut, said a WR officer.

“Despite the announcements, passengers seemed to be in a hurry. Several passengers started trying to open the door without the train coming to a complete halt. This resulted in the mal-functioning of the system,” said Ravinder Bhakar chief public relations officer of WR.

Asked about the time taken by this train on Tuesday, Bhakar said during non-rush hours, it almost took four minutes more than other trains, but on Tuesday it took around 10 minutes because some passengers tried to open the door forcefully at Dahisar station. Apart from Dahisar, such a problem was also noticed at several other stations.

“Though it is a good idea from the safety point of view, without AC or proper ventilation it almost turned hazardous on Tuesday,”said Shailesh Goyal, a former member of Indian Railway Users’ Consultative Council. “It was difficult to breathe in this coach during the rush hour,” he said.