Andheri derailment: Did broken axle belong to a condemned rake?

Sources claim rumours within Mumbai division suggest that the axle could be from an older, defunct rake; the broken axle is currently being inspected at Lucknow

It appears that a major controversy is likely to erupt once the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) tables a detailed report in the Andheri derailment case. Speculations are rife that the derailment — wherein seven coaches of a Churchgate-bound local went off the tracks near Parle biscuit factory — was the outcome of a broken axle.

The broken axle of one of seven derailed coaches. There are several theories floating about the accident, said an official
The broken axle of one of seven derailed coaches. There are several theories floating about the accident, said an official

The axle is currently undergoing thorough inspection in Lucknow. Sources claim rumours are doing the rounds within the railway division (Mumbai) that the axle belonged to a condemned (used beyond its codal - working - life of 25-30 yrs) rake before it was reassembled in one of the derailed coaches.

The derailment occurred near Parle biscuit factory between Andheri and Vile Parle on September 15
The derailment occurred near Parle biscuit factory between Andheri and Vile Parle on September 15

A Western Railway official said, “Although the coach and the axle were assembled in 2012, it is possible that the axle could be from a much older rake.” Commenting on the issue, a senior WR official said generally an axle needs to weigh 16 tonnes but the one that broke weighed only 13 tonnes.

He added that a stamp on the axle would determine its manufacturing date and the company that produced it. The broken axle is currently being inspected at the Railway Design Standards & Organisation (RDSO) head office, Lucknow, which is the go to technical body for the railways.

“There are several theories floating about the accident. But for now, the flawed axle has been sent to the RDSO. Also, the CRS is preparing a report on the cause of the accident,” said GC Agarwal, General Manager, Western Railway.

Fact file
As part of the periodic overhauling, the coach and the rake were reassembled in June. Sources claimed no fault was detected during the inspection that followed. While the rake, which is called pure AC rake that runs on 25,000-volt, was manufactured in 2012 by Integral Coach Factory in Chennai, details about the axle are awaited. A senior official also claimed that the axle went through a furnace and was remoulded before it was reassembled.

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