Goods train rams into oil tanker at unmanned level crossing

A Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) goods train collided with an oil tanker at a level crossing, resulting in an oil spill; further crisis was averted as the police and fire brigade turned up immediately

In a head-on collision that could have potentially blown up into a far bigger crisis, a goods train belonging to the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) rammed into an oil tanker at the Sewri-MbPT level crossing yesterday, resulting in an oil spill at the accident site.

The impact of the collision bored two holes in the tanker, leading to an oil spill
The impact of the collision bored two holes in the tanker, leading to an oil spill

Due to the impact, the truck then slammed into one of the pillars of the elevated Eastern Freeway. There was no loss of lives or major injuries reported. Around 3 pm on Tuesday afternoon, the goods train was heading from the MbPT car shed towards the port, when it encountered the oil tanker at the Sewri railway crossing.

Firemen immediately sprinkled sand and mud on the oil to avert the risk of a blaze, while the cops managed crowds of passers-by and cordoned off the area. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
Firemen immediately sprinkled sand and mud on the oil to avert the risk of a blaze, while the cops managed crowds of passers-by and cordoned off the area. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

The train crashed into the truck, in turn pushing it towards a pillar on the elevated freeway along the MbPT road. Oil began to spill from the tanker, and the police and fire brigade were called to the spot. “Due to the impact from the train, there were two holes in the tanker, and oil leaked on to the road below the freeway,” said a fire official.

Passers-by gathered at the scene and the police had to manage the crowd to prevent any untoward incidents. Meanwhile, four fire engines and two sand trucks reached the spot and sprinkled sand and mud over the spilled oil to avert the risk of a fire. The fire brigade was also prepared with fire-fighting foam in case of a blaze.

Furthermore, the area was cordoned off to prevent other accidents by skidding. An official from the fire brigade control room told mid-day at 6 pm that the road had been closed off as well, and traffic was being diverted. The official added that despite the truck’s collision with the Eastern Freeway’s pillar, no serious damage was done.

According to sources within the fire department, the level crossing does not have a gate, and is usually manned by an MbPT staffer instead. However, it seems that there was no one present at the crossing at the time of the accident. “There is always an MbPT staffer present to guide the goods train and vehicles that use the level crossing, but no one was there today. The accident might have occurred because of this,” said a fire official on condition of anonymity.

Sources also told this newspaper that since MBPT goods trains passed by the crossing every few days, the port trust must ensure there is always someone watching the crossing so that the incident is not repeated.
When contacted, MbPT officials declined to comment.

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