Raising doubts about the safety parameters of the Western Railway’s (WR) operations, another local train overshot its halt at a station on the western line on Tuesday. The incident occurred at Jogeshwari station, as a semi-fast Virar-Churchgate train (number 91168) missed its halt and overshot the platform by four coaches.
Overshooting is causes great inconvenience to passengers especially women and senior citizens who have to get down directly on the stone-and-ballast-covered tracks. Officials agreed that at times this can also result in injuries.
Sources in WR said that the Churchgate-bound train the last fast train for the day started from Virar at 11.35 pm. It was to run as a slow local till Andheri, after which it would become a fast train towards Churchgate. It was to make a halt at Jogeshwari station at 12.25 pm, aligning along the platform as it regularly does. Instead the motorman, Shailesh G, halted after four coaches had already crossed the platform limit.
“The train’s speed couldn’t be controlled and it went ahead. This forced commuters to get down on the tracks,” said a WR official. Sources said the train’s speed was much higher than 30kmph, which is the speed at which trains usually enter platforms. Even the train’s guard failed to hit the brakes immediately. Neither could the train reverse, as reverses have to be recorded as accidents in railway parlance.
There have been 19 such cases of overshooting in the financial year 2013-14, and on average, there have been at least one or two cases a month so far. Officials said, however, that there was nothing to worry about. “The motorman has been suspended. It’s not that there has been any rise in the number of overshooting cases,” said Shailendra Kumar, divisional railway manager (Mumbai), WR.
WR officials said that the motorman agreed that he had miscalculated the distance while hitting the train’s brakes, which resulted in the incident. As such cases cause inconvenience to both commuters as well as the motorman, who faces disciplinary action, railway regulations have made provisions to ensure that the motorman can work without distraction.
As per the rules, motormen are barred from talking to another person or on the phone while manoeuvring a train, which is why no one else is allowed to travel in the motor cab. Offenders will be fined if they are found in there without a special cab pass. This has been proved a necessary move, as it can often be observed that there are more than two to three people inside the motor cab during peak hours.