A month before the train’s 80th anniversary, passengers of the Deccan Queen, which was heading to Pune from Mumbai, had a narrow escape as its locomotive caught fire.
The incident occurred at 6.40 pm between Neral and Shelu stations, about 86 km from CST.
Though no one was injured, the train was delayed for nearly three hours as a new engine had to be brought from Karjat.
The train resumed its journey around 9 pm. Usually, the train leaves CST at 5.10 pm and is in Pune at 8.20 pm.
“Preliminary findings have revealed that there could be some fault with the engine. An inquiry has been initiated,” said S.C. Mudgerikar, chief spokesperson.
The safety record of the Central Railway Mumbai division has slipped in the past few years, with a rising number of derailments and mishaps.
In July 2009, the chairman of the railway board had pointed out at conference that the division was among the bad performers when it same to safety.
It’s one of the oldest train routes from Mumbai and first started on June 1, 1930 as a weekend train for Britishers to ferry horse race-fans from Mumbai to Pune.
The Deccan Queen’s first service ran from from Callian (now Kalyan) to Pune. It was converted to a daily service soon after.
From the start, the Deccan Queen has been run using electric locomotives.
The last incident involving the Deccan Queen was on November 30, 2006, when a mob set fire to some coaches near Ulhasnagar, forcing passengers to jump out.
The arsonists were protesting the vandalism of an Ambedkar statue in Kanpur. In 1990, the train had derailed at Khandala Ghat, but there had been no casualties.
Currently painted in white, blue and red, its rakes have seen colours such as red and yellow.