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Disaster averted: Train runs with wheel parts missing, finally stopped at Khandala

Officials said the parts had fallen while the train was running and were later recovered along the route

mumbai Updated: Oct 24, 2017 00:23 IST
Aroosa Ahmed
Aroosa Ahmed
Hindustan Times
Nagercoil Express,Khandala,Central Railway
The damaged coach of the Nagercoil Express.

In a serious safety lapse, parts of the wheels of a coach on the Mumbai-Nagercoil Express were found missing on Sunday. Around 2.40pm, a guard on the train realised the wheels of the coach were making an unusually loud sound and alerted the motormen, who halted the train near Khandala. The officials inspected the wheels and found the bolster plank and spring, which support the wheels, were missing, thereby averting a major accident.

No action against any official has been taken so far, however, Central Railway (CR) will award the officials who spotted the damage.

Officials said the parts had fallen while the train was running and were later recovered along the route. The primary maintenance of the Nagercoil Express is undertaken by Southern Railway.

The guard and motormen then informed CR officials, who decided to bring the train to Lonavala station where the affected coach was detached from the train. The train, which had more than 1,000 passengers, then left for Nagarcoil in Tamil Nadu at 4.40pm.

The incident indicates a lapse in not just safety, but also in the mandatory checks to be made before a long-distance train heads for its destination. According to a senior central railway officer, if the guard of the train was not quick to act, the train could have derailed near the Khandala section, which passes through the rough terrain of Sahyadri mountains. There was a possibility of derailment or even worse, the affected coach plunging into the valley.

According to an initial report prepared by CR authorities, the quality of the welding near the wheels was poor. The cover of the axle box, which absorbs shocks, was also broken. The report states the whole assembly, which connects to the wheel of a coach, including the spring, bolster and circular bracket, fell as the train was plying.

SK Jain, divisional railway manager, CR, confirmed the incident and said the guard and motorman of the train acted immediately. “The guard and motorman of the express immediately inspected the wheels and took a decision of detaching the general compartment from the express.”

First Published: Oct 24, 2017 00:23 IST