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Friday, July 20, 2012

Alert engine driver averts tragedy on tracks

    It was the presence of mind of the Vidarbha Express engine driver that helped prevent a major tragedy on Thursday night near Umbermali, when the Mumbai-Gondia train collided with the derailed bogies of the Kasara-CST local that left one person dead and 14 injured. The Vidarbha Express driver brought the train to a sudden halt by applying the brakes immediately, as he saww the red signal alert flashed by the motorman of the local. In the impact, the engine derailed and one of the coaches—S10—got on top of S9. 

    "The time interval between the derailed local train coming to a halt and the collision was only 117 seconds and the driver did the best possible thing by applying the brakes," Central Railway general manager Subodh Jain said. Railway minister Mukul Roy announced an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the dead, Rs 1 lakh each to the grievously injured and Rs 25,000 each to persons who sustained simple injury. 
    TOI was among the first to reach the accident spot on Thursday night and railway officials said the work of rerailing the suburban trains would be done by 1.30am on Saturday. The train services remained suspended between Kasara and Asangaon stations throughout Friday. 
    "We ran the services normally 
between CST and Asangaon. Also, long distance trains were diverted via Kalyan-Pune and Diva routes, while some were cancelled on Friday," a railway spokesperson said. 
    The accident happened between 9.31pm and 9.32pm when a boulder that slipped due to landslide hit the motorman's cabin while the local was approaching Umbermali station. Before the motorman could react, it hit other coaches of the suburban train. Though the motorman applied brakes, 11 coaches derailed. 
    The women's compartment was 
    the worst hit. Tiwala resident 
    Sakina Qureshi (65), who 
was returning home from Kasara, died in the accident. 
Times View: Were adequate precautions taken? 
    
You can't wish away landslides during monsoon; but you can definitely limit their impact by taking adequate measures during the run-up to the rains. The railways do conduct pre-monsoon checks every year but this incident, and the landslide-triggered hold-ups every monsoon, indicate the inadequacy of those measures. Those hold-ups, not an infrequent occurrence, should have alerted officials to the possibility of a bigger tragedy. 
1 DEAD, 14 HURT 19.31pm:Due to landslide, a 
boulder hits the 
local train and derails 11 coaches 9.33pm: Vidarbha Express driver 
brakes. Engine 
derails, coach S10 gets on top of S9 9.40pm: RPF men rush to rescue. 
Constable Meena 
enters S9 coach via emergency window 10-12pm: Locals rush in to join 
rescue ops; 
ambulances arrive on scene, take injured to hospitals 1.30am: Engine is attached 
to Vidarbha 
Express to separate unaffected coaches and taken to Kalyan 
4-5.30am: 
Another engine 
pulls out S9 
coach. Cranes are also brought to rerail suburban train





Vidarbha Express and the Kasara-CST local that met with an accident on Thursday night. (Left) Coaches of the express train one on top of the other

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