The locomotive pilot of Kushinagar Express averted a major mishap on Friday when he applied the emergency brakes just before the rake could have gotten derailed by a two foot wide rail fracture.
Shreedhar Gaikwad, the pilot, applied the emergency brake between Asangaon and Atgaon railway stations around 12:30 am, when he felt a sudden jerk from the track.
After making sure that the 4000-odd passengers onboard the train were safe, Gaikwad alighted to inspect the track and noticed that a sizable chunk of the track had broken off. By the time the train came to a complete halt, 21 of the rake’s 22 coaches had crossed the broken portion of the track.
Following the incident, a senior official with Central Railway claimed that the train, travelling at 50 kmph, would have derailed had Gaikwad had not applied the emergency brake.
Central Railway’s public relation officer A K Singh also told TOI that Gaikwad, who joined railways as an assistant driver in 1996, will be recommended for an award for averting a major mishap.
The track was later joined on a temporary basis and the train was allowed to pass. The broken chunk was finally replaced after five plus hours of arduous labour, during which Central line was brought to a standstill.
Outstation trains like Mahanagari Express, LTT-Rajendra Nagar Express, LTT-Varanasi Express and Amritsar Express along with suburban trains plying between Kalyan and Kasara use the route.
Rail fractures, like the one caused near Asangaon, are typically caused due to wear & tear, temperature changes and poor maintenance.