Mumbai train mishaps: Are 4000 series rakes the real culprits?
It looks like the 4000 series rakes have become a bane for the Western Railway (WR). The quality and durability of these rakes has come into question, as they are now part of two major accidents that occurred in the last four months.
While the first one occurred at Churchgate in June, when a Churchgate-bound local had crashed into the platform, the second was yesterday’s derailment. “In both the cases, rakes belonging to the 4000 series were involved. However, it could be a sheer coincidence,” said a WR official.
Commenting on yesterday’s mishap, Shailendra Kumar, Divisional Railway Manager (Mumbai), WR, said prima facie it appeared that an external infringement or something from the train had come onto the track, leading to the derailment.
The Churchgate-bound local that crashed into the buffer at Churchgate station on June 28 was also from the 4000 series. file pic
Seven coaches of the Virar-Churchgate fast train derailed near the Parle biscuit factory yesterday. The train was apparently moving at a speed of 60 kmph.
Sources in the WR said officials who inspected the spot seem to have shortlisted a few possibilities for the mishap. The first is the discovery of marks on the clips that hold the tracks and sleepers. These marks were found about 200 metres before the spot where the derailment occurred.
Sources added officials are also speculating the possibility of a foreign object getting dragged by the train onto the tracks. Another theory is about a possible obstruction in the track, which resulted in the derailment.
The last theory is that there might have been a faulty crossover where the derailment occurred. In a past incident, a single coach of a Bandra-CST local had derailed on a crossover where the tracks curved.
Presence of mind
It was B Vishwanath, motorman of a Borivli-bound train, who saw dust and smoke emanating from the Virar-Churchgate local and immediately alerted its motorman by flashing a distress signal. The motorman then skilfully applied the brakes, preventing further damage to the derailed train.
Sachin Sawant, one of the commuters on the Virar-Churchgate train, said the damage would have been severe had the motorman applied the brakes suddenly.
While the derailed coaches were cleared with the help of a 140-tonne crane by 2 pm, services on fast and slow lines remained affected for the rest of the day. Almost 40 per cent of the 1,310 services were cancelled. With crowds swelling at the platforms, trains had to carry beyond their capacity.
Commuters were seen struggling to alight or board the overcrowded trains, as seven to eight people were travelling on footboards of every compartment. With fast trains diverted onto the slow line, services were running at least 10 minutes behind schedule.
>> I was standing inside the compartment when the incident occurred. I was on my way to Dadar from Andheri. The train rattled for over ten minutes and came to a standstill with a violent jerk. The lights went off and none of us could see anything for a while as dust engulfed the compartment.
People started screaming and jumping out of the train. Though I held the pole tightly, I was pushed out of the compartment. I fractured my left elbow in the mishap and walked to the Vile Parle station with two other passengers.
However, I was told that no GRP personnel was there to take me to the hospital and I was asked to go to Andheri. I then walked back to Andheri and met my brother there, who took me to the Cooper Hospital. — Sonu Prajapati (24)
>> When I looked at my left foot, after jumping out of the compartment, it was bleeding profusely and the ankle bone was visible. I then borrowed a piece cloth from one of the passengers and tied it tightly around the ankle.
One of the fellow passengers informed my brother-in-law about the incident and he came to Cooper Hospital immediately. Doctors said a surgery might be required to fix the broken ankle. — Sudhir Swaminathan (39)
>> I was trying to jump from the opposite side of the train when it started tilting, but was thrown out of the compartment after others pushed me from behind.
While being pushed, all the pressure fell on my right leg and the pain was unbearable. I lost consciousness and woke up only after a few people sprinkled water on my face. Later, the GRP officials brought me to the hospital. — Ajay Mourya (24)
>> I was speaking to my husband when suddenly the train tilted to its right side. I learnt that the train had met with an accident and jumped out of the compartment to save my life. What made matters worse was chaos inside the compartment.
A few women who panicked started to push others so that they could jump first. A few of them fell on me and I injured my back. Had I jumped a few seconds late, I would have crashed into the pole and sustained serious injuries.
Locals from the nearby slum rushed me to the hospital. Never in my wildest dream had I imagined that I would have to jump out of a train. This incident is going to be unforgettable.
— Archana Singh (30)
>> Sanjay Singh (26) and Amlesh Yadav (28) were treated and discharged after the doctors confirmed that the injuries they sustained were not serious.
— As told to Neha LM Tripathi/ Sadaguru Pandit