Seventeen months after a speeding local crashed into the buffer at Churchgate and landed on the platform, the Western Railway has neither repaired nor replaced the colonial-era buffer. This has put lakhs of commuters’ lives at risk every day.
On June 28, 2015, a speeding Bhayander-Churchgate local landed on platform number three, damaging the huge iron buffer. Five passengers, including the motorman, were injured.
Sources said the railways has put a 4-5 inch thick wooden bar fitted on two iron girders ahead of the buffer to alert motormen. They said the passengers’ safety has been compromised with.
Western Railway officials said they have planned to replace the buffers but are waiting for the railway board’s approval to the proposal.
“We have already sent the proposal to the railway board to sanction replacement of the four-set buffer. Once it is sanctioned, we will immediately replace it,” said Ravinder Bhakar, chief spokesperson of WR.
In probe report, it was found that the train had hit the buffer at 29 kmph, as both the motorman and guard had failed to apply brakes after it entered the platform at 36kmph. The impact was such that after damaging the buffer, the train jumped and landed on to the platform.
The WR has taken action against its seven staff members, including the motorman and the guard.
Passenger activists said the reoccurrence of similar incident cannot be ruled out at Churchgate platform number three.
“A damaged buffer shows that the railways is least bothered about passengers’ safety. For this serious safety lapse, the railways should fix responsibility and take action against officials for delaying repair work or replacement of the buffer,” said Rajeev Singhal, an activist.
WHAT IS A BUFFER?
Buffer is a round-shaped projection similar to one on front and back of train coaches, installed at the end of railway line. It prevents the trains from going past the dead end. It reduces the impact and damages by absorbing the kinetic energy generated during collision of train with it.
All four railway lines at Churchgate station are fitted with buffers manufactured by Ransomes and Rapier in Ipswich, England. Those were fitted during erstwhile Bombay, Baroda and Central India (BBCI) railway in 1930.