Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Narrow escape for Konkan Railway bosses, safety chief

Narrow escape for Konkan Railway bosses, safety chief
A representational picture of a weld fracture
The entire team of the Konkan Railway's heads of departments and the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS), who were on special inspection on Tuesday, narrowly missed being in a rail mishap near Pen station, where a weld fracture was discovered after their train had passed. A similar weld fracture had derailed a Sawantwadi train on May 3, leading to more than 20 deaths and several casualties.

The various chiefs of the Konkan Railway and the CRS were travelling in a special inspection train that was being followed by the Mumbai-Madgaon Mandovi Express, which departs Mumbai CST at 7:10am.

An alert gangman spotted the fracture and stopped the Mandovi Express. "The Mandovi Express was stopped in time by alert gangman Krishna Jaku Jadhav, after he detected a fracture on the tracks at around 9:40am, about 110km from CST," said a CR spokesperson.

CRS Chetan Bakshi and the top brass of Konkan Railway were ironically on their annual inspection to decide on the regulations to be put in place in the Konkan Railway section as it passes through difficult terrain.

While Bakshi was not reachable, a senior official said the affected section fell in the Central Railway zone and is already under monitoring and rectification.

In fact, the railway safety commissioner himself has already imposed several speed restrictions in the section due to the rail fracture problem. Such a fracture occurs when the welding that holds two track lengths together comes off.

Latest statistics compiled by the research wing of the Indian Railways shows that the number of fractures on Central Railway tracks has gone up.

There were 129 incidents between March 2012 and March 2013, while for March 2013-14 the figure is 153. CR officials had admitted that such fractures had been occurring due to a particular class of rails -- D-Mark rails -- laid in the section and corrective steps will be taken.


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