Thursday, February 28, 2013

Trekking on rail tracks in WG punishable

HASSAN: Trekkers taking the risky walk through the railway tracks on Western Ghats should know this. The Railway department has said that trekking on the track is a punishable offense.

After the ban on trekking inside Western Ghats last February, trekkers found the 55-km railway stretch on Western Ghats to be an exciting alternative. But due to safety reasons, the railways has completely banned trekkers here.

South Western Railway (SWR) senior divisional commercial manager, Anup Dayanand Sadhu, said: "In a day, nearly seven trains pass through this route. Every train is heavily loaded and applying sudden brakes for any reason can lead to an accident. Also restarting an engine on the Ghats section is a tough task."

Railway Protection Force sub-inspector Suraj B Singh added that trekkers will have to pay a penalty and also, police can arrest them and book a case under laws of security.

'Awesome experience'

Trekkers however seem to be willing to take the risk for the "awesome experience" of trekking through the Ghats.

Harish, a trekker from Tumkur, recalled: "Western Ghats is the most attractive place for trekking. A year ago, we went for a trek to the Western Ghats but were denied permission by the forest department. Later, we found railway track to be a good alternative. Though officials from the railway department opposed, we convinced them and continued our trek."

On Western Ghats, there are 58 railway tunnels along the 55-km stretch. In each tunnel, there is place to stand aside when the train passes, Harish says. But trekking on railway tracks near slopes is risky as there is no space to stand back when the train passes. "In such places, we have to just cross the tracks quickly," he explained.

"Early morning trekking on mist covered Ghats is an awesome experience. We get on track near Sakleshpur and come out near Nellyadi cross. While trekking through the railway track, we can see waterfalls, river, Ghats and rare birds. The five to six hour trek is a different experience altogether. If the government allows us inside the forest area, then it will be more adventurous," adds Vinay, an entrepreneur from Hassan.


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