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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Churchgate station does an airport !

Maharashtra State Government recently happened to stumble upon this brilliant idea – That of frisking all passengers entering into Churchgate railway station. A full scale dry run was done on last Sunday and it got wonderful results with 100% of entrants being frisked and baggage screened.

The real test was to be on Monday – a working day. It was an evening as usual for passengers till they hit the station. There were welcome by security mechanism to ‘clear’ the passengers. And what followed thereafter can be described in just one word – Chaos.

In the peak time of evening, as many as 100 trains leave the station in just 3 hours. In that span of time 200,000 passengers hit Churchgate station. Well, what it means is that there are 1000 passengers landing on Churchgate station every minute.

Yes, you’ve read it right. 1000 people entering the station in just a minute. I think the best of the airports are unable to bear this kind of load. No wonder, the mechanism of hundred-odd security staff and handful of screening machines got choked in 12 minutes flat.

No wonder, passengers were frustrated because of having missed their regular 6.14 and 6.31, etc. Let me tell you train-goers in Mumbai are so very particular about not only the train they take but also sit in that train they occupy that any deviation therein is just unacceptable. I was told by many that to avoid this madness at Churchgate, they took a cab to Marine Lines to ensure that they avoid the security drill and catch their daily train!

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