BHUBANESWAR: The Indian Railways on Sunday suspended five of its employees after Ahmedabad-Puri Express train travelled for 13km without engine on Saturday night.
The train with 22 coaches travelled from Titlagarh station in Balangir district to Kesinga station in Kalahandi district.
The East Coast Railway suspended train driver S. Venkat Rao, assistant driver Sushant Singh, along with carriage and wagon department employees G.S. Panda, Lakha Kaspeta and P. Bagh, who were in charge of coach maintenance.
Following the incident, the Railway Board instructed that a month-long joint safety drive be conducted across the country by operating and electrical departments regarding shunting at stations.
The incident occurred at Titlagarh when the engine was being detached from the train. Coaches were stopped by Railway staff by putting stones on the track to bring the carriages to a halt, said official sources.
The cause of the incident was non-application of skid-brake on the wheels of the coaches by the staff deployed there. According to rules, the staff should have put on the skids.
“When an engine is detached to be attached at the other end, the coaches should be secured with skids at the wheels. In this case, it appears that the skids had not been placed properly. Facts will be known after detailed inquiry,” said an East Coast Railway spokesman.
An inquiry has been ordered that will be carried out by divisional heads of different departments.
“A major accident has been averted. It could have been fatal for the passengers and it happened due to negligence of railways officials,” said Mukesh Sharma, a passenger.
By arrangement with the Times of India
Published in Dawn, April 9th, 2018