Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Railways Direct Loco Pilots to go Slow on Anekal Stretch

  16th February 2015 

BENGALURU: After Friday’s derailment of the Bengaluru-Ernakulam Inter City Express, the Bangalore Railway Division is being extra-cautious with trains running on the stretch near Bidaregere village in Anekal taluk.
Within 32 hours of the mishap, the first passenger train, the Coimbatore-Mumbai Lokmanya Tilak (Kurla) Express, chugged past the spot at 2.56 pm on Saturday. It chugged along at an unusually slow speed for a passenger train, on directions from the Bangalore Railway Division.
“The usually permitted speed for trains along this stretch is 65 kmph. But all trains have been asked to run at 10 kmph during the weekend along the 400-metre stretch between Hosur and Anekal where the mishap occurred,” a top railway official said.
Loco-pilot Vijayan of the Bengaluru Division, who steered the Kurla Express, confirmed this to Express. For Vijayan, a driver of 25 years’ experience, the journey past the stretch caused a moment of trepidation.
Kurla began its journey at Coimbatore at 8.45 am on Saturday and passed Tiruppur, Erode, Salem, Dharmapuri, Omalur and Hosur and was on its way through this stretch to Bengaluru City before proceeding to Mumbai. “I drove only at 8 kmph along the 400-metre stretch here and, yes, I took extra caution,” he said. “What happened yesterday was such an unfortunate accident. I did end up passing through the section safely,” a relieved Vijayan added.
Precautions aplenty were taken before the moment happened. A goods train was run through the sector first at 2.20 pm. A red signal motioned Vijayan to stop before the stretch. The driver was made to sign a book that he had stopped as directed by the signage by a local railway engineer and he waited for a few minutes before the signal turned green. Guard Stanley then waved the green flag for the train to chug off. “It is a regular Railway procedure to take the driver’s signature when the light turns red at spots which are not scheduled stoppages,” he said.
The loco-pilot stays with his son in the city. “I did not tell even my son that I would be the first driver to go past the mishap site,” Vijayan said.
Co-pilot Amarender Prasad was nonchalant about it. “I had no fear and did not experience anything when I went past the segment. The only difference I experienced this time compared to previous trips was that the train went much slower this time than earlier,” he said.

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