Saturday, February 15, 2014

Loco pilot detects wheel breakage, averts tragedy

NAGPUR: Yet another major train mishap was averted in the wee hours of Friday when a wheel flange was noticed in the engine of freight train carrying oil. The incident happened between Dahegaon and Kawtha stations under Nagpur Central Railway circle.

A wheel flange is an external ridge or rim on the train wheel that keeps it from running off the rails.

According to railway sources, the train carrying oil was heading to Bajwa in Gujarat from Tadali near Chandrapur. At 2.30am, as the locomotive was leaving Dahegaon station near Wardha, the loco pilot heard a loud noise and stopped the train.

The driver noticed a breakage in the wheel flange of the engine and alerted the authorities. A separate engine was arranged for the onward journey of the train. A breakdown van was summoned from Wardha station. A team of officials too reached the spot in the morning.

As there was no heavy traffic, passengers trains were not affected. The freight train was detained for over 30 minutes. When contacted, Central Railway PRO PD Patil confirmed the incident but said that the freight train was detained for just 10 minutes.

According to sources, a major tragedy was averted as the flaw was noticed in time. Officials said that it is a serious lapse on part of the staff which maintains the locos. Ultrasonic tests are conducted on the wheels regularly and the fault should have been detected then. "Such incidents put a question mark on safety measures taken by the railways," said Basant Shukla of Bharatiya Yatri Kendra (BYK).

This is the second incident of wheel breakage in seven days. On February 8, passengers of Delhi-Secunderabad Rajdhani Express had a narrow escape after a wheel gave way near Barbatpur in Nagpur-Itarsi section. On January 30, 12 wagons of a wheat-laden rake derailed near Sonkhamb between Katol and Kalmeshwar, near Nagpur.


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