Thanks to the presence of mind of lineman Sharad Vithoba from Malavli railway station, a major train tragedy was averted on the Mumbai-Pune rail route yesterday at 7 am.
Blaming the weather: Railway officials claimed that the railway track developed the fracture due to heavy rains. Representation Pic.
The lineman was inspecting the tracks when he noticed a break in the tracks between Lonavla and Malavali. He immediately informed the authorities, who took quick steps to remedy the situation.
On receiving the information, the Pune-Mumbai Sinhagad Express was stopped at Malavli railway station at 7:30 am. Other Mumbai-bound trains were also made to stay put for more than an hour. Railway officials claimed that the railway track developed the fracture due to heavy rains.
Pune railway division PRO Yogendra Kumar Singh, said, “The rail track was fractured between Lonavla and Malavli station. Generally, tracks develop fractures if exposed to extreme weather conditions and, in this case, the rains did the damage. During routine patrolling, the lineman spotted this crack. Pune-Mumbai traffic was disturbed for about an hour,” added Singh.
Due to the incident, Sinhagad Express reached CST at 11.30 am instead of the scheduled 10.10 am time. Deccan Queen reached at 11.15 am, instead of 10.25 am. Other intercity trains between Pune and Mumbai were also running late by 20-25 minutes and Mumbai-bound trains were delayed by an hour.
The delay affected commuters as they reached their workplaces late. Charu Lata Kulkarni, who works as a defence officer in Colaba, said, “I was travelling in the Deccan Queen, which was late by 55 minutes. I reached my office about an hour late. I received a late remark because of this.”
Madhu Pandey, who works with the Indian Railways said, “Every day, I travel to Dadar and then I take a local to Churchgate. Because of the delay, I reached work an hour late.”
Hemant Tapale of Pune Mumbai Pravasi Sangh said, “Thousands of lives were saved because of the lineman. It took more than an hour for the railway authorities to fix the track, after which traffic on the Pune-Mumbai route was back to normal.”