Mumbai:  Lakhs of commuters in Mumbai had a harrowing time on Wednesday as services on the Central Railway (CR) line were thrown out of gear following a midnight fire in a signal cabin.

Besides leaving thousands of office-goers stranded during the morning rush hours, the snag also affected students appearing for university examinations, who could not reach the exam centre due to trains running late.

"It will take three to four days to fully restore the traffic," a CR spokesperson said, adding that services on the Harbour line were also hampered.

Only 70 per cent of the normal suburban services would be operated today, he said, adding that 4 long distance trains coming from Pune and Manmad have been cancelled.

"There was a fire in the signal cabin between Kurla and Vidyavihar stations at midnight and there was heavy damage to signalling gears," the spokesperson said.

The fire was brought under control within half-an-hour by fire brigade personnel. Train services resumed partially at 3.30 AM on Tuesday, but the trains were running over half-an- hour late.

Railways allowed CR suburban commuters to use their monthly passes on the Mahim-Churchgate route on Western line. Similarly, CR suburban commuters were allowed to board long distance trains at Kalyan and Kasara till CST using their passes.

Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport (BEST) deployed extra buses at Ghatkopar, Kurla and Bhandup stations to cater to the rush of commuters.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai University has directed exam centres to "accommodate" students, who could not make it to their exam centres on time.

Leader of Opposition in Assembly Eknath Khadse spoke to Higher Education Minister Rajesh Tope and requested him to ensure that students were not inconvenienced due to the disrupted train services.