Churchgate train derailment: Four months after mishap, WR to replace buffer

The damaged buffer was manufactured by Ransomes and Rapier, England, and installed way back in 1930

Almost four months after a local train overshot the buffer and crashed onto the platform at Churchgate station, the Western Railway (WR) authorities have finally floated tenders to replace the damaged buffer. Sources from WR claimed officials have been busy chalking out details and specifications of the buffer for the last few weeks.

Watch video: Mumbai train crashes into platform at Churchgate station

The damaged buffer at platform number 3 at Churchgate station that awaits replacement
The damaged buffer at platform number 3 at Churchgate station that awaits replacement

“We were thinking of installing an oil-based buffer, but these are expensive and securing permission for the same would have been difficult. So we have decided to replace the damaged one with a hydraulic buffer (water-based),” said a senior WR official.

The existing sets of hydraulic buffers were manufactured by Ransomes and Rapier in Ipswich, England, and had been installed at Churchgate station in 1930. during the Bombay, Baroda and Central India (BB&CI) Railway era.

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The official said that although only a single arm of the buffer had broken in the mishap, the entire set would have to be replaced. The new buffer, which is likely to be imported, costs Rs 4.5 crore.

“We are floating tenders to install new buffers. Once a particular company shows interest, the new hydraulic buffers will be installed,” said Shailendra Kumar, Divisional Railway Manager (Mumbai), Western Railway.

Currently, WR authorities maintain these buffers and change their spring whenever necessary. The springs are responsible for averting untoward incidents by preventing the train from jumping the track in case of a mishap. Every rail line has a buffer installed, with each of the two arms weighing over a tonne.

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Similar-looking projections are installed below the windows of the motormen’s cabins on either end. The arms and the projections need to be of equal height and diameter so that in case of any untoward incident, the weight of a moving train is transferred from these projections onto the arms of the buffer upon impact.

All railway stations and terminuses, where platforms end, have these hydraulic buffers in place. WR officials said a buffer can absorb the impact and halt a train running at a speed of up to 7 kmph. Churchgate, Andheri, Borivli, Thane, Kurla LTT, Bandra terminus and CST are some stations equipped with buffers.

Case history

>> On June 28, a Bhayander-Churchgate fast local jumped the track and landed on the platform after crashing into the buffer at platform no 3 at Churchgate around 11.20 am 

>> The local entered the platform at a speed of 36 kmph. It overshot the tracks and crashed into the buffer at a speed of 29 kmph

>> The first compartment of the train was flung almost 15 feet into the air after impact 

>> Motorman L Tiwari was found responsible for the mishap and was suspended. Inquiry into the matter is underway

Rs 4.5 crore
Cost of the new hydraulic buffer, which is likely to be imported

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