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Rooftop traveller goes up in flames

Last evening, train-top travelling claimed another life, when a 25-year-old commuting on a Virar-bound local died instantly after being electrocuted by heavily charged overhead wires. Rooftop travelling became all the more dangerous since February after power supply to trains was augmented by nearly 17 times. As such, the current coursing through overhead cables increased from 1,500-volt direct current (DC) to 25,000-volt alternating current (AC). If a person even ventures within a 2-meter radius, there is a good chance he will be sucked in by the current, and the resulting electric shock may be fatal.


Caught in flames: Due to the electric shock, the victim’s body caught fire at Kandivli station, as commuters looked on horrified; cops recovered burnt books from the victim’s bag

Regrettably, none of this has deterred transgressors, who continue with the lethal habit, blatantly ignoring the peril. On Tuesday evening, the victim, whose possessions point to the fact that he was a student, was engulfed in flames after he got pulled in by the sheer amount of current flow in the cables. “The incident occurred on a Virar-bound fast train that halts at all stations from Andheri. But at Kandivli station, a rooftop traveller got electrocuted,” said a WR official on condition of anonymity. 

Gory end
The incident occurred around 7.50 pm, when passengers heard three cracking blasts. They thought that it was a short circuit. But as the train approached the platform at Kandivli, there was fire on top of a coach near the middle of the rake. S Dhodte, a commuter traveling in the coach, said, “The first time we heard the blast, we thought it was a technical problem, but then we saw fire and jumped onto the station.”

A WR official at the spot of the accident said, “When we saw the fire we realised there was a body, and rushed to douse the flames.” The train was halted. After five firefighters doused the blaze with fire extinguishers, the victim’s charred body was recovered along with a bag. The body was recovered after putting in place a power block during which electricity supply to the cables was discontinued. This affected the evening peak hours services as there were some delays and cancellations.

“The fast trains towards Virar were diverted on the slow line between Goregaon and Borivli. Train services resumed at 8.35 pm,” said Nitin David, spokesperson, WR. P M Karyakarte, senior police inspector (GRP), Borivli, said, “We have not yet identified the deceased. He was a college student of around 25 years of age. We are trying to search for his family. We have recovered a few books from his bag.”

Recent incidents
>> Mar 20: A 25-year-old man who had entered a railway yard was electrocuted after he touched an overhead wire of a stationary local train between Mira Road and Bhayander.
>> Mar 19: A 20-year-old man was electrocuted while his friend suffered serious injuries near Khadavli railway station near Titwala, when the duo accidentally touched the overhead wires. 

Did you know?
On February 5, the Western Railway completed the power conversion from 1,500-volt direct current (DC) to 25,000-volt alternating current (AC). It spent Rs 500 crore on this project. 

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