Travelling in an engine-less train for more than half-an-hour in an unscheduled route was the scariest thing for around 1000 passengers of Ahmedabad-Puri express that rolled down around 13 km from Titlgarh to Kesinga without engine on Saturday night.
Some old people and women were screaming with fear inside the coaches, while some of them were trying to stop the train by pulling the chains. Some of them were praying the god to save them from the tragedy.
“We had lost hope after we learnt our bogies were moving without train engine. I was not worried about my life, but praying God to save my children,” said a woman passenger travelling in one of the 22 bogies that got detached from Ahmedabad-Puri Express’ engine near Titlagarh railway station on Saturday night.
Most of the passengers travelling in the train have expressed concern over safety as no railway official responded even though SOS calls were made to the helpline number.
One similar incident had been occurred last year in Rayagada railway section. The Alappuzha-Dhanbad express had luckily escaped from a major mishap as its engine got detached from the bogies near Jimidipeta station in Rayagada district on September 3 last year.
Even though the engine went for over a kilometre after it got detached but there was no report of any injury or casualty as the bogies didn’t derail. The incident took place in the evening at a distance of about 20 km from Rayagada town.
“7 Railway staff including two engine drivers, three carriage repairing staff has been placed under suspension in connection with train rolling down on its own at Titlagarh,” said East Coast Railway, General Manager, Umesh Singh.
Meanwhile, to avoid future repetition of similar incidents, Railway Board Chairman has instructed the operating and electrical department of Indian Railways to launch a month long joint drive during which the shunting staff and Shunter/Loco Pilot should be intensively monitored and counseled.
The drive should oversee the drive and after its completion, General Managers will submit a report to the Board about their observations, actions taken and suggestions for improvement.
Meanwhile, in a twitter message by the Chief Minister’s Office, CM Naveen expressed concern on the Ahmedabad-Puri Express incident. Passenger safety is above everything and cannot be compromised, the message added. Besides, he urged the Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal to take remedial action to address the lapses.