A chipped rail sent suburban rail services for a toss, after the Amravati-Mumbai Express derailed yesterday morning at Kalyan station.
A chip in the rail led to the derailment of the Amravati-Mumbai Express yesterday. Pics/Shrikant Khuperkar
The train was entering the station on a crossover when the toe of the rail chipped, leading to the mishap. While the exact cause of the crack is yet unknown, railway officials claim that such kinds of rail fractures rarely occur, and that cracks normally appear on the head of the rail.
The train was entering Kalyan station on this crossing when the toe of the rail got scraped, leading the engine and the bogey trailing it to derail
Amravati-Mumbai Express 12112 was entering platform number 4 of the station around 4.50 am, when its engine and the coach right behind the general-second-class-and-guard’s-van went off the rails.
No casualties have been reported so far, but trains on the line came to a standstill till service was restored at 7.20 am at the station, and by 8.33 am on the Nashik-Kalyan section.
Rail traffic was disrupted the entire day, as trains were delayed and diverted. They were running late by 45 minutes, and more than 65 services were cancelled. The derailment had occurred on a complex section a diamond crossover with double slip.
This kind of crossover normally connects two or more lines over which trains pass. Central Railway officials stated that the train was entering the station on this crossover at less than 15 kmph when the toe of the rail chipped. The officials will now also check metallurgical defects in the track, which was manufactured and installed in 2005.
This is the seventh derailment witnessed by CR in the past few months, raising serious questions about the upkeep of the rails. This derailment occurred just a couple of days after S K Sood, general manager of CR blamed lack of funds and delay in fare hikes for jeopardising maintenance and safety operations of train services.
The earlier incidents of derailment and technical failures were attributed to inadequate time provided to carry out maintenance activities. The exact cause behind the crack has not been revealed yet, and is currently being investigated.
“We have called for a high-level investigation into the matter, and a report will be prepared on the same,” said Mukesh Nigam, divisional railway manager (Mumbai), Central Railway.
“These tracks and the yard layout at Kalyan are very old. They are tough to maintain and there are at least five such crossovers near this station,” said a senior CR official.
Sources said that during winters, the chances of derailments increase, especially towards the north of Kalyan station. As the temperature drops, the metal tracks contract drastically, thus leading to cracks in the rails.
“We will be more vigilant as maintenance of such a huge network is an issue,” said another official. The CR authorities are looking at carrying out mega blocks on Saturdays as well, due to the ongoing technical failures.
In October alone, there have been at least 10 cases of technical failure, including derailments at Dombivli and Kalyan, signal failures, local trains stopping abruptly, a fire inside the AC coach of a train, and even complete power failure at the Kalwa carshed that led to a breakdown of service there.
Officials also blame the fencing between rail lines that has been installed to prevent trespassing by commuters. They claim that the fences are an obstruction due to which the gangmen — workers who inspect and maintain tracks are unable to take a close enough look to spot crevices and cracks in the tracks.
Dombivli: On September 30, a Titwala-bound train derailed at Dombivli station after it left platform 1. Sources said that the reason behind the derailment was rather shocking, as the gauge of the tracks placed on the concrete sleepers had widened, which shouldn’t happen under normal circumstances. The distance between two rails of a track is usually maintained at 1576 mm.
Kalyan: On October 3, a Kalyan-CST local derailed immediately after it left platform 1 of the station. The sixth coach of the train derailed as it was crossing over a point from where it moves onto the fast line towards CST. Sources said the engineer-in-charge forgot to replace the crossover, leading to the mishap.