02/01/2015 12:24 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST

Local Train Service Restored In Mumbai After Violence Over Delays

Commuters wait for local trains in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. India's new rail minister Sadananda Gowda on Tuesday proposed allowing foreign investment to modernize the country's cash-strapped state railways. India has one of the world's largest railways, which transports 23 million passengers a day. Indian Railways is one of the world's biggest employers with more than 1.3 million employees. The network lost 300 billion rupees ($5 billion) last year. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

Local train services were restored in Mumbai after being halted for five hours due to agitating passengers and violence near Diva station in Thane. Police used force to clear railway tracks of agitators who had blocked trains after services were delayed during peak hours in the morning due to a technical snag.

Railways minister Suresh Prabhu said on Twitter that the incident was unfortunate and promised to improve services.

Earlier, violence broke out in Diva, near Mumbai, after police tried to clear railway tracks that commuters had occupied after electrical failure delayed trains in the morning. In response, railway drivers had announced a strike after some of were injured. The strike was subsequently withdrawn.

Police resorted to lathi charge to clear the area to remove agitators from the railway track. TV reports showed vehicles burned by protestors, who also threw stones at the police and at passing trains, resulting in injuries.

Disruption in power supply in overhead wires had led to delay in services on the central railway. At around 6:30 am the pantograph of a CST bound train broke near Thakurli station. Soon after another Kalyan-CST train apparently also experienced similar technical failure, slowing down train traffic towards CST in peak hours.

“The commuters have occupied all four lines between Diva and Mumbai since morning 8.30am. We are not able to operate the services because of it. There was power supply problem in morning but it is restored now,” said Mukesh Nigam, divisional railway manager (DRM), Mumbai division. The Panvel-CST harbour line was also affected due to this blockage. Over 5 million commuters use Mumbai's central line & 4 million use western line every day.

Railway authorities diverted slow trains on to fast tracks as an interim measure, but that led to further delays.