Friday, August 23, 2013

Track trouble on flooded land

The rising Ganga near Bihpur-Narayanpur stretch on the Katihar-Barauni section is leading to massive erosion underneath the railway tracks.

A railway mishap was averted on Wednesday around 100m east of Narayanpur station when soil below the tracks was eroded by floodwater.
The station falls under Sonpur division of East Central Railways under the civil jurisdiction of Naugachia sub-division in Bhagalpur.
The driver of the New Delhi-bound 12506 Dn North East Express noticed that the train skidded because soil erosion had caved in the land below the tracks. The train was coming at a speed of 78km, some 100m east of Narayanpur Dala.
The driver had, however, managed to pull out the train from the danger zone but immediately informed the driver of Katihar-bound Tatanagar Link Express through the control room that the area is not safe for fast trains.
The driver of Katihar-Tatanagar Link Express, which was a few metres from the damaged tracks, managed to apply the emergency brakes, averting a major mishap. After repairing the tracks, train services resumed on the section on Wednesday evening.
According to the residents of Narayanpur, located 25km west of Naugachia, soil displacement below the tracks is a common phenomenon.
According to railway sources, on October 7, 2009, six compartments, along with the locomotive of Amrapali Express got derailed between Gouchari and Pasraha. Again on May 25, 2010, 14 compartments of New Delhi-bound 2424 Dn Rajdhani Express derailed near Ambho level crossing between Kharik-Naugachia. A light engine had also derailed on September 14, 2009, near Pasraha.
Experts blamed floodwaters for the frequent erosion of soil.
According to the chief permanent way inspector (PWI) at Thana Bihpur station, Ashok Singh, the 15km stretch between Gouchari and Pasraha (single track) is accident-prone during foods. The stretch from Naugachia to Mansi stations runs parallel to the national highway-31 on its left and the Ganga on its right.
Near Pasraha, the floodwater stays on for over four-five months on the NH-31 and the railway tracks.
Anuj Kumar, who has been studying the flood trends in Bihar, said: “Over more than 150 years ago, river Kosi used to meet Ganga near Pasraha-Narayanpur areas. The two rivers still interconnect below the surface in the same area even now. The seepage below the earth causes flood now.”
He added that from Khagaria to Kursala (over 100km) there is not a single bridge either on the NH-31 or on the railway tracks on this section resulting in waterlogging for long period. “This causes heavy erosion of soil,” he said.
Despite several attempts, divisional railway manager of the Sonepur division, Rajesh Tiwary, was not available for comment. However, the chief public relations officer, Amitav Prabhakar, said: “After the August 21 North East Express incident, trains on the Bihpur-Narayanpur section are allowed to pass at not more than 50km/hour speed. Officials have been asked to keep round-the-clock vigil on the section.”

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