Passengers at Mumbai’s Churchgate station had a shocking interface with death, when a local train flew off the tracks and came to rest on the platform. Five were injured in the serious mishap, which, the motorman says, to have happened due to the malfunctioning of the rusted brakes. Five meters of the train rose up into the air, caused by the impact and touched the roof of the platform. Half of the ladies’ coach, of the Bhayandar Churchgate fast local train, which entered the station premises with a speed of 30 kmph was literally lifted up, despite the motorman L. Tiwari having applied the breaks, but only too late.
Tiwari told Railway authorities that the brakes did not function properly when the train was entering the station. “I tried to apply the brakes, but the train barely slowed down. “Meri aankhon ke saamne maut dekha,” Tiwari told WR officials.
Sources said trains are allowed to enter Churchgate station at 30 kmph, but the speed needs to be controlled by the motorman. In this case, at first face, Tiwari couldn’t apply the brakes on time. “Only a year ago or so, we had replaced the old hydraulic buffers in Churchgate station with new ones. This proved useful today (Sunday), as even though the buffer broke, it absorbed much of the force of the collision,” said a WR official.
The officials regretted the event saying that, had the old rusted brakes been timely replaced, the mishap wouldn’t have taken place. “The train would have simply broken the buffer, causing more damage to the rake, the station and commuters,” he said.
There are two types of brakes in pure AC rakes, which run purely on 25000 alternative current. One of the brakes is electro-pneumatic, which is to be applied by the motorman as it smoothly slows down the train. Tiwari claims this brake to have malfunctioned. In fact, the train slowed down due to a signal even after it crossed the Marine Lines station, before taking off for Churchgate. Moreover, they said, there was a mega block between Mumbai Central and Dadar on the fast line and the train had to halt several times on that stretch.
However, the General Manager of Western Railway said here that the motor man, guard and loco inspector, were suspended based on the preliminary inquiry. Officials said the train’s guard, A Gohil, could have also applied the brakes when he realized that the train’s speed was higher than it should have been while entering the station and that he was suspended for his failure to do so.
No one faced serious injuries from the mishap.