Derailed local throws train services off track

Dec 22, 2011, 08:12 IST | Shashank Rao and Vishaka Sonawane

A Kalyan-bound local train was derailed from its tracks as it rolled out of CST station at 8.42 am yesterday, wreaking havoc on railway schedules

A Kalyan-bound local train derailed from its tracks at 8.42 am yesterday, throwing train services awry and inconveniencing thousands of passengers. While some had to undertake hazardous treks on the tracks back to stations, others were stranded in halted trains, or at stations waiting for delayed trains. 

Back on track: The tracks were cleared at 7 pm, after nearly 50 workers
pushed the derailed coach towards the platform. New tracks were also
laid, all in a span of 11 hours from the incident. Pics /Bipin Kokate

The train started out from platform number 7 of CST, and deviated from the rails even as it was rolling out of the platform. Sources claim that the reason for the derailment could have been a problem in a coach. Owing to the snag, the train failed to navigate a steep curve, causing part of the coach to tilt at an angle of 45 degrees from the track.

"A detailed enquiry will be conducted. Prima facie, it seems there was some problem with the coach, and not with the track," said a senior Central Railway official on condition of anonymity.

Sources have revealed that the derailment occurred owing to a mismatch between the pace of the underlying frame of the train and its wheels, which displaced the coach completely. The train was moving at a speed of 15 km per hour, with only four commuters sitting inside the coach that was derailed.

Other officials claimed that the derailment might have resulted from lack of maintenance.

Commissioner of Railway Safety Chetan Bakshi paid a visit to the spot soon after the incident, and promised that he would conduct an inquiry. Due to the derailment, the train was dragged for a distance of nearly 50 metres along the track before it came to a halt.

Services disrupted
The derailment threw train schedules awry throughout the day. Some 120 services had to be cancelled, and trains moving towards CST and Kalyan ran late by an hour.

Sangita Holkar, an inconvenienced commuter said, "I somehow managed to catch a train from Thane. But the train was cancelled at Kurla. I waited for nearly half an hour to board another train. It took 45 minutes for the train to reach Dadar from Kurla."

Commuters who boarded CST-bound trains from Kalyan in the early morning hours took nearly three hours to reach their destination.

The mishap also disrupted the departure of the long-distance Mumbai-Kolhapur Koyna Express. The train, which was waiting to depart from a platform in the station at the time of the mishap, was eventually cancelled.

Prabhakar Rankhambe, who boarded the train with his family, said, "We came to Mumbai to attend a family function, and were supposed to leave for Kolhapur this morning. We heard repeated announcements that the train would depart soon, but were kept waiting. Only at 1:30 pm was it announced that the Koyna Express was cancelled."

Meanwhile, the fast trains moving towards CST had to be diverted at Byculla. Most trains ran 15-20 minutes late all day.

Though the accident did not claim any lives, Buddhiram (42), a commuter panicked and jumped out of the derailed train, sustaining some minor injuries. "He twisted his ankle and has been admitted to the Railway Hospital in Byculla," said Rahul Jain, divisional railway manager, Central Railway.

The tracks were finally cleared at around 7 pm, after nearly 50 workers pushed the derailed coach towards the platform. The other half of the train was kept waiting on platform number 7. New tracks were also laid, all in a span of 11 hours from the incident.

Two trains were derailed at CST last year, both of which had departed from platform VI of the CST station. The curve of the track was then diluted for better navigation of trains.

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