Mumbai: Central Railway uses cloth rags for fractured rail to save from rush hour delay
Railway officials at the spot temporarily fix fractured rail with cloth rags; after which four packed trains run on it; CR says safety of commuters was not compromised at all
To temporarily fix a fractured rail at Govandi and avoid causing major delay during the evening rush hour, some Central Railway (CR) officials on Tuesday tied it up with cloth rags. Four packed suburban trains ran on the rail with the raggedy fix, albeit without any issues. Railway officials said this was not a security lapse, but was the best decision taken at the point of time.
Sources said the incident occurred at 6.15 pm, when a crack was detected on the rail on the Panvel-bound track between Govandi and Mankhurd stations. Railway officials said the rails had neither split nor separated, but only had a dent. The rails already had a joggled fishplate (a bar bolted to ends of two rails to join them) in place.
In a bid to keep services running during rush hour, The permanent way inspector and gangmen at the spot allegedly decided to quick-fix the gap by tying it with cloth rags
Since it was the evening rush hour — coupled with the pressure to keep the services running — the permanent way inspector and the gangmen at the spot allegedly decided to quick-fix the gap by tying it with cloth rags. Had it not been done, a number of trains would have got delayed during the rush hour.
Before the repairs
The entire process took 26 minutes and the trains were started soon after. Once the cloth rags were in place, trains were given a green signal and made to run at a slow speed. Eyewitnesses said about four suburban trains packed with evening rush hour commuters were run on this track before it was properly repaired. Prior to this incident, services on the harbour line had been affected throughout the day due to flooding in the tracks near Mankhurd. They were only just recovering when this fracture was detected.
No safety lapse
But CR maintains there was no safety lapse. CR's divisional railway manager SK Jain told mid-day, "The permanent way inspector is the competent authority to ensure safety of tracks. He has piloted the trains safely and we've sent a divisional engineer to the site to verify the facts." CR's chief PRO Sunil Udasi said, "The rail fracture was properly attended. Initially, it was clamped and the fishplate was intact. After this, the portion is required to be painted as marking for replacement of rail. Since the paint does not stick in the rain, the cloth was put as a marking instead."
"Trains were allowed at 10 kmph, as per the normal procedure, in the presence of the permanent way official. Safety was not compromised at all. Running on normal speed is permitted only after proper replacement of the rail. It's reassured that there was absolutely no breach of safety. We're fully committed to the safety of passengers," said Udasi.
MP Kirit Somaiya said, "The railway line is safe and there is no danger to passengers. Tying the cloth might be a mistake, but it has been repaired now."
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