Did overflowing dam add to water on tracks in Badlapur, Kalyan deluge
Officials from Central Railway (CR) are investigating whether the overflowing of a dam at Ulhasnagar as well as the Ulhas river led to the sudden increase in water levels on railway tracks on Saturday, stranding thousands of passengers on the Mahalaxmi Express.
To prevent such incidents from happening again, CR is planning to increase the height of the track and overhead wires near Vangani station, where the Mahalaxmi Express was brought to a halt on Saturday (it was submerged in nearly eight inches of water).
The railways initially blamed “a sudden spell of intense rainfall” for the train getting stuck between Badlapur and Vangani stations early on Saturday morning. Activists questioned why the authorities had let the train depart Ambernath station if it knew the tracks were flooded.
“A barrage dam is near the railway tracks where the train got stranded. We are looking into how the water levels increased to this level. The overflowing of the Ulhas river and the dam are being inspected,” said a senior CR official who did not wish to be named.
CR has deployed patrolmen on its railway tracks located near dams, who will alert it if there is a sudden increase in water levels. The railways, in turn, will stop the movement of local and outstation trains if necessary.
“Raising the height of tracks and overhead wires is possible here because there are no bridges nearby,” said the CR official. “We are looking into other measures that can prevent waterlogging on the tracks.”
On Saturday, 1,052 passengers on board the Kolhapur-bound Mahalaxmi Express were stuck in the train for more than 12 hours as it got stuck in waterlogged tracks. After a five-hour rescue operation by the National Disaster Response Force, Thane Disaster Response Force, the Navy, railways and civic body, all passengers were safely rescued.