Minutes before officials were to tell the Indian Railways’ engineering head how well the trains and tracks were running, an engine derailment near CST exposed the reality
Yesterday, Central Railway got a taste of what it’s like for thousands of frustrated commuters every time there is a technical failure in services.
After the derailment of Udyan Express’ engine, another engine was used to reverse the coaches back to the platform. Pic/Atul Kamble
The department was trying to impress Indian Railways Board Member (Engineering), AK Mittal, who had come to Mumbai to take stock of the condition of tracks and development projects.
Instead, CR officials were left red-faced after the engine of a long-distance train derailed due to a technical snag.
Since Mittal is one of the officers who directly report to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, CR was hoping to tell him that the trains and tracks here are in the pink of health. But, before the meeting could start, the engine of Mumbai-
Bengaluru Udyan Express derailed at around 8.14 am, soon after it left Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST).
“The local railway authorities are looking into the incident. The reason behind the accident will be known after the investigation,” Mittal told mid-day.
CR sources said officials immediately rushed to the spot. “This was an embarrassing situation. On the one hand, we were trying to showcase the developments that have taken place and give Mittal an update on the ongoing projects, while on the other hand, this derailment exposed the situation,” said a railway official.
After the derailment, they used another engine to reverse the coaches back to the platform, while passengers were given food packets, snacks, tea and bottled water.
When the meeting finally began at 9.30 am at CST building, Mittal asked rail authorities here for a thorough investigation into recent derailments. The meeting with the top official ended at around 3 pm and, soon after that, the engine was cleared and Udyan Express departed from CST.
>> Trains on Central Railway delayed by 20-40 minutes during peak hours
>> Fast trains were diverted to slow line, which led to trains queuing up right till Currey Road station
>> Services on the fast line towards Kalyan resumed at 9.04 am and towards CST at 10.15 am
Bad track record
>> May 26: A transformer gets burnt at Vikhroli station
>> May 30: An empty bogie of a long distance train derails between Elphinstone and Lower Parel stations
>> June 21: After monsoon disrupts services, commuters forcibly stop a long distance train at Diva station to try and get to CST
>> July 4: In the wee hours, at least 11 wagons of a container train heading towards Gujarat derails at Dahanu Road