Friday, May 27, 2016

TNN | May 26, 2016,

JALPAIGURI: An alert train driver stopped a train when he spotted an elephant herd on the tracks at Rongtong in the Dooars, preventing an accident that would have certainly lead to multiple casualties. 

Seeing a tusker and a herd crossing the railway track near Mongopong, the driver of the Siliguri-bound passenger train applied the brakes on time. The train ground to a halt within a few feet of the herd, saving the animals protected under Schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act.

The place where the incident occurred is barely 10 km from Sevoke. The point through which the train was passing through at that time is a known elephant corridor and was raining heavily. It was therefore perhaps that the driver had kept the train at a moderate speed. The track is a part of the 168 km long railway track between NJP and Alipurduar Junction railway stations which is notorious as the 'killer track.'

Even as the driver stopped the train, the tusker stood on the track and let the other herd members cross the line. The train was therefore stranded for nearly an hour starting from 9 am. Following this Alipurduar Junction bound Kanchankanya Express was held up at Sevoke station and trains like NJP-Alipurduar Junction Intercity Express and Changrabanda Passenger train were delayed. Operations started once the jumbos were off the track and entered the Mongpong forest tract.

This 168 km long track, on an average, takes the toll of five elephants every year and injures scores of other animals. In the past 12 years, i.e., after the conversion of the line into BG in 2004, nearly 60 elephants have been killed hit by trains on this track.


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