Thursday, January 26, 2017

By Kamal Mishra, Mumbai Mirror | Jan 26, 2017,

The iron log that was placed on the tracks on Tuesday night, which was spotted by train drivers Harish Chinchwale and Harendra Kumar
Locomotive pilots Harendra Kumar and Harish Chinchwale have emerged heroes after they prevented a possibly major train accident near Diva on Tuesday night, even as senior railway officials and the police suspect a sabotage attempt.Kumar and Chinchwale, piloting the Madgaon-Dadar Janshatabdi Express, managed to stop the train in time after they spotted a huge piece of rail "placed meticulously" on tracks near Diva station around 10.30 pm. The Central Railway have lodged a complaint with the railway police, who are probing a possible derailment attempt.

Kumar told Mumbai Mirror that providence came to their rescue, as they had lowered the speed of the train to just 15 kmph while negotiating a crossover. "The short hood of the engine allowed us a clear view of the object, which was about 7 mt in length. We were told later that it weighed more than 300 kg, and had we crashed into it at high speed, the consequences would have been fatal," he said.

Kumar, who has been a train driver for the last 20 years, said emergency brakes were applied and the train stopped barely a few mts from the object. More than 700 people were on board the train.

Incidentally, a CST-bound fast local had passed on the same track just 17 minutes earlier, raising suspicions that the Janshatabdi Express was targeted. "This suggests the object was placed on the tracks to sabotage the train after the local train had passed," the Central Railway's general manager DK Sharma said.

Such a rail piece is generally placed along tracks in case of emergency, such as rail frac ture. "The railway police have registered an FIR and launched a multi-pronged investigation," Sharma said.

DID A COP SPOT SUSPECTS?

Sources in the railway police said an RPF constable, Pappu Rajbhar, was travelling from Kalyan to Thane and spotted a group of five to six people gathered at the spot where the rail piece was found. "Rajbhar had boarded 10.06 pm fast local at Kalyan and while crossing the stretch between Diva and the Parsik Hill tunnel, he saw some men at the same spot. At that stage, he took them for railway workers," the source said. Atul Shrivatsva, the Central Railway's chief security commissioner, confirmed the development. "One of our constables may have spotted the suspects," he said. A senior Government Railway Police officer said prima facie, it appears the plan was to cause serious damage.

"The iron log weighs around 380 kg and would require at least five people to place it on tracks. There are no residential premises within the two-km radius of the spot," the GRP officer said.

There has been a series of train accidents in the last few months, leading to sabotage suspicions. On Saturday night, the engine and nine coaches of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express jumped the tracks in Andhra Pradesh, killing 39 people. There were two train derailments near Kanpur in November and December last year claiming over 150 lives. HRecently, Bihar police had unearthed a conspiracy by a gang to tamper with railway tracks to cause derailments and their possible involvement in the accident near Kanpur.

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