Goods Train Ran Without Driver: Internal Report Highlights Negligence

Goods Train Ran Without Driver: Internal Report Highlights Negligence

Nearly half a dozen railway officials have been suspended in connection with the incident, and high-level investigations are currently underway to determine the extent of negligence and potential consequences.

Kamal MishraUpdated: Tuesday, February 27, 2024, 10:34 PM IST
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Mumbai, February 28: In a shocking incident on Sunday, a goods train consisting of 53 wagons traveled without a driver from Jammu’s Kathua to Punjab’s Hoshiarpur, raising serious concerns about railway safety protocols. An internal report (FPJ has the copy) revealed a glaring lapse, stating that hand brakes were not applied in the wagons of the said train.

Nearly half a dozen railway officials have been suspended in connection with the incident, and high-level investigations are currently underway to determine the extent of negligence and potential consequences. According to a joint report prepared by concerned railway officials, the shunting staff and loco pilot are prima facie held responsible for failing to take adequate precautions before leaving the engine unattended.

"The goods train, formed on line number three without a brake van and the loco pilots was informed to run the train without gaurd till Pathankot but loco pilot refused to operate the train without a guard, but after receiving instructions from the control, the decision was made to chenge the crew of the train. Hence control further instructed the crew via ststion master to shutdown the both engines of the said goods train. After that loco pilot leave the engine and handed over the keys to the station master Kathua at around 6:00 am" read the joint report.

No Hand Brakes Applied From Rear:

The joint report further detailed that the loco pilot had applied two wooden wedges in both engines, with hand brakes applied to only three wagons from the engine end but later failed. Crucially, no hand brakes were applied from the rear end of the train, leaving the train vulnerable to uncontrolled movement.

"On February 25th, the Firozpur division of Northern Railway received information about a ballast train rolling down from Kathua at 7:13 am. The control took swift action, alerting all concerned parties and ensuring main line routes were clear. The goods train was eventually stopped near Unchi Bassi station at 8:38 am, where a video taken by the station master revealed that no hand brakes were applied in the wagons" further read the joint report.

As the investigation continues, questions loom over the safety measures and communication protocols within the railway system, prompting authorities to reevaluate and reinforce procedures to prevent such incidents in the future.

'Situation Was Handled Extremely Well'

"As is already mentioned in the reports, both loco pilots left the loco without securing it by applying parking brake etc. Perhaps only loco breaks were applied which faded during the course of time. Anyway post incidence situation has been handled extremely well as runaway train crossed 34 level crossings and nine block sections without any untoward incidence" said Subodh Jain, former member of Railway Board.

Similarly AK Shrivastava another retired traffic officer of Indian Railways said,  "It was reckless negligence of the driver who would not have shut down the engine and applied the brakes properly. Such things can always happen in the graded sections. The enquiry will reveal the details. But more worrisome is that it could have led to a disaster, if there would have been a passenger train in the way of the freight train. Timely intervention saved the day, but one must examine the systematic lapses, like training of the driver, adequate rest, counselling etc."

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