Mahalaxmi Express stranded: Railways launches probe
A day after Mahalaxmi Express, carrying 1,052 passengers, got stuck in floodwaters near Vangani station, the Central Railway (CR) has launched an inquiry into the matter.
As two trains, which had passed minutes before Mahalaxmi Express crossed the area, had not reported any major waterlogging, the CR had attributed the incident to the unprecedented and sudden rise in the water level and the probe is expected to be conducted in that direction. The investigation will also clarify why the train was allowed to go beyond Badlapur station, where it had already encountered waterlogging.
According to officials, the area where the train got stuck runs parallel to Ulhas river. The overflowing river flooded the tracks with water levels reaching up to 15 inches. CR will also inspect the nullah situated near the river. “This is the first instance of waterlogging on that patch. We will be studying the phenomenon to find out the reasons. On the basis of report, we will take action. The findings will be shared,” said Sunil Udasi, chief public relations officer, CR.
Officials said Chennai Express, an outstation train, had passed minutes before the Mahalaxmi Express on the same track and did not report any major waterlogging. “A local train, which crossed the spot, reported waterlogging, but by then the Mahalaxmi Express had already left Badlapur station. There was an unprecedented increase in water level,” said a senior official. The CR also received flak for operating the train after suspending local train movement between Kalyan and Karjat on Friday night.
Meanwhile, the CR on Sunday managed to open the section between Kalyan and Badlapur and later ran services to Karjat. However, the tracks and equipment between Badlapur and Karjat were severely damaged.
The CR cancelled the maintenance block on Sunday on its Main line and Harbour line. “300 Railway and contract workers are working round the clock to put the train services back to normalcy,” reads a CR statement.