A trackman’s ‘gamcha‘ and a red flag averted a train tragedy waiting to happen in Delhi on Tuesday.
It was a usual day when trackmen, 60-year-old Priyaswami and 55-year-old Ram Niwas were out on their duty examining the railway tracks between Yamuna Bridge and Tilak Bridge around 7.55am. It was at the time; the men noticed a six-inch gap on a section of track.
The cause of their worry was the speeding Shiv Ganga Express which if were to pass through that stretch would definitely derail.
Speaking to the Times of India, Priyaswami recalled, “I could make out from the metal’s silver colour that it was a fresh break. The train would have instantly derailed had it passed over the gap.”
Unfortunately, neither Priyaswami nor Ram Niwas had a phone to call the station master or alert their seniors about the gap. But they were undeterred in their resolve to avert the accident.
Leaping into action, without caring about their own lives both trackmen ran towards the approaching train. While Priyaswami waved his red gamchha, Ram Niwas used a red flag in an attempt to alert the train driver so he would hit the brakes.
“We only had only a few minutes before the Shiv Ganga Express from Varanasi would cross the stretch. We could hear the train siren at a distance and had to alert the driver. I had a gamchha while Ram Niwas was carrying a worn-out red flag,” said Priyaswami.
But the two trackmen were well aware it would take at least 100 metres for a train to stop it was travelling at a speed of 50-60 kmph.
“You can’t slam its brakes like a car to make it stop. We had to keep that in mind as well,” Ram Niwas told TOI.
Luckily, the train came to a halt just a few metres before the gap after the driver spotted them.
“Had the train been running at a higher speed, it would have run us over since the line had a small curve. We had to take the risk,” said Ram Niwas.
The driver stepped out and thanked them. It was a long wait of another one and a half hour till the workers repaired the tracks.
Lauding the trackmen’s display of courage, Deputy railway manager of Northern Railway, R N Singh said, “We have decided to reward the two gangmen for this. The train was packed with passengers at the time of the incident.”
Ram Niwas also recalls how he had averted a similar tragedy three years ago, where he had to run almost five hundred metres on the tracks to get the train driver’s attention.
“I had the safety of the passengers in mind all this while. I have seen train accidents in my hometown in Bihar and knew the cause behind it. I can never let such a thing to happen while I am supervising a stretch,” he told TOI.
We salute the two gangmen for their presence of mind and quick action! We hope the Railways reward them suitably for their feat.
(Edited By Vinayak Hegde)
Feature image in-set credit: Times Of India