Accident averted when train was minutes away from workers repairing track in Maharashtra

The railways managed to avert derailment of Pushpak Express which operates between Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and Lucknow

mumbai Updated: Sep 07, 2017 01:20 IST
Aroosa Ahmed
Aroosa Ahmed
Hindustan Times
(Pic for Representation)

Days after the derailment of Utkal Express in Uttar Pradesh, a similar incident was averted near Bhusawal in north Maharashtra on August 23.

The railways managed to avert derailment of Pushpak Express which operates between Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and Lucknow, just before it entered the section of a track where maintenance work was going on. Assistant Station Manager (ASM) Archana Sinha had given the loco pilot a green signal. Workers were working at the site and reportedly parts of the tracks were removed. The train was minutes away from the spot when Sinha realised this and asked the loco pilot to stop the train. The express was at a speed of 110 kmph.

“If the driver would not have been informed, there would have been many casualties. The immediate halt of the express saved it from derailment,”said a senior railway official.

The CR officers removed Sinha without any enquiry . RK Yadav, divisional railway manager, Bhusawal, said, “The express had not entered the maintenance section but had passed the station instead of stopping. The train was stopped 3 km before the work site. ASM has been removed.”

However, the All India Station Master Association (AISMA) is demanding that Sinha be reinstated. DS Arora, general secretary, CR, AISMA, said, “There has been some miscommunication as it was because of Sinha’s quick thinking that the train stopped. However, the action on her was taken without any enquiry.” Arora added that if their demands are not met, they may go to court.

CR opts for corridor block for maintenance

After the derailment of Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express, railway board officials have asked the Central Railway to take corridor blocks to be able to better maintain the tracks. The blocks will be operated by the authorities section wise and this will be done outside the suburban network.

A corridor block would imply that the railway authorities can reschedule, cancel and change the routes of trains passing through the section where the maintenance work is going on. The chairman of railway board has asked that blocks be scheduled for few hours but without compromising on the safety of passengers. “The instructions have been given after the derailment of Duronto Express. A corridor block was never undertaken during the last railway board chairman’s tenure. We have been asked to do everything it takes to maintain the tracks and keep passengers safe,” said a senior CR official.

The CR officials opted for a track maintenance block between Asangaon and Vasind on Tuesday. The block was on the same section where the derailment occurred on August 29.

Meanwhile, the new chairman of the railway board Ashwini Lohani issued fresh orders saying that the focus of the railway officers should only be work. Lohani has asked his men not to accept any gifts or bribes in any form and has stated that severe action will be taken against any official caught taking bribe.

The Commissioner Of Railway Safety, in its report on the Utkal derailment, had also said that no fruitful work can be done without an integrated block on a heavy track structure.

First Published: Sep 07, 2017 01:20 IST