One man’s timely action saved the lives of 1,200 passengers aboard the Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express that derailed near Asangaon on Tuesday morning.
It was around 6:30 in the morning when motorman Ravindra Singh realised that the rail tracks ahead were severely damaged.
According to Times of India, he immediately hit the brakes and averted what could have ended up being a massive tragedy as the train considerably slowed by the time it reached the damaged section.
However, the train’s engine along with nine of its coaches derailed from the track near Vahevali village, whose local population helped the trapped passengers evacuate the coaches safely and served them water, tea and snacks.
The rescue equipment reached the location of the derailment more than two hours later.
“No passengers were seriously injured, though locals said a few people, including the motorman, did suffer minor injuries,” Central Railway spokesperson A K Singh said.
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Though the cause of the derailment is yet to be ascertained, one railway official cited the incessant rains in the Kasara Ghats causing the tracks to be washed away.
However, according to a source reported by the TOI, the derailment seems to have arisen due to recent construction activities carried out by the Railways in the region.
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Shortly after the incident, all suburban train services between Kasara and Kalyan region were suspended along with many long distance trains being cancelled or changing their routes.
“I would like to reiterate that the driver did an excellent job of applying emergency brakes. As the train’s coaches were constructed with advanced LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) technology, they did not pile up on top of one another,” said Sunil Udasi, who is the chief spokesperson of Central Railways.
Though this incident, which is the fourth one in the country in last ten days, didn’t result in any casualty, it is raising a major concern over issues like safety of passengers and the capacity of the railway tracks during the monsoons.
Thanks to the presence of mind of Ravindra Singh, many have lived to tell the tale.