Railways offers Rs 5000 reward to Jan Shatabdi driver who spotted 15ft rail piece, saved 700 lives

Railways offers Rs 5000 reward to Jan Shatabdi driver who spotted 15ft rail piece, saved 700 lives
The piece of rail that was blocking the main track. Picture Courtesy: Rajendra B. Aklekar

Railways awarded Rs 5,000 cash prize money to the assistant loco pilot of the Jan Shatabdi Express, who had spotted a rail piece near Diva station earlier this week and averted a major mishap by halting the train on time.

Devendra Sharma, General Manager of Central Railway, appreciated the alertness and presence of mind of the pilot, and rewarded Rs 5,000 in the form of a cash prize on Wednesday.

The incident took place on Tuesday when the locomotive pilots of the Mumbai-bound Jan Shatabdi Express (12052) spotted an obstacle placed meticulously on the tracks after the train had crossed Mumbra and was nearing Diva station.

The train was carrying 700 passengers.

“Jan Shatabdi (12052) train started from Madgaon on Tuesday at 2.30 pm and was scheduled to reach Mumbai around 11 pm. However, at 10.37 pm, when the train reached between Mumbra and Diva stations, the drivers spotted the seven-metre-long and around 400 kg piece of the rail, meticulously placed on one track,” said Sharma.

Loco pilot Harendra Kumar and assistant loco pilot Harish Chinchole spotted the 15 feet long piece of rail on one of the tracks and stopped the train in nick of time, Sharma said.

“They stopped the train, got down, and removed the rail with the help of the chief loco inspector N K Yadav and the passengers and then proceeded,” Sharma told reporters.

A CST-bound fast local had passed on the same track just 17 minutes earlier, implying that the piece was placed on the track deliberately for nefarious reasons after the local train had passed, Sharma said.

A rail piece is generally placed along tracks so that in case of emergency, like a rail fracture, these pieces can be used immediately.

Top railway officials also suspect it to be either an act of sabotage or mischief and have lodged an FIR with railway police. The unknown persons have been booked under Section 150A of the Railway Act.

“The area where the rail was placed is inhabited. Railway police has registered an FIR and launched a multi-pronged investigation to nab the culprits,” Sharma said, adding the police commissioner of Mumbai and the Maharashtra DGP were informed about the incident.

This could be the act of a handful of people and the administration has taken the incident very seriously, he concluded.

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