Railway officials are looking at the possibility of a buckling which may have caused the derailment. Buckling is caused due to expansion of tracks without adequate space.
Mumbai : While the cause of the derailment near Titwala is yet to be determined, it is unlikely that a fault in the coaches might have caused the massive mishap. As many as 27 rakes used by the Central Railway have surpassed their shelf life of 30 years whereas those of Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited Coaches (BHEL) that were derailed were merely 10 years into the service.
So that belies the fact that age of the rake had anything to do with the mishap that claimed Dhaval Lodhya’s life. The railway officials are looking at the possibility of a buckling which may have caused the derailment. Buckling is caused due to expansion of tracks without adequate space. The metal tracks are coupled together with screws that are left loose enabling them to expand with rise in temperature. However, with tight screws the tracks are devoid of space required for expansion. These tracks expand to form a curve instead of being linear.
A railway official said, “The increase in temperature in the last couple of days may have caused the tracks to expand and in absence of enough space, made it curve. The maintenance work of the tracks is prohibited during the afternoons to avoid expansion. The derailment could possibly be a result of the expansion of track.”
Central Railway has 27 coaches with Direct Current used beyond their shelf life. These 27 coaches running on DC are used on the Harbour, Transharbour as well as mainline of the CR. With no new rakes available, the life of the 27 coaches is extended after putting them through a major overhauling exercise which extends their shelf life to another 5 years.
An official from CR said, “The life of these 27 coaches have been extended to another 5 years after the overhauling. However, ideally there is a need for these coaches to be phased out as soon as possible.”
Former Divisional Railway Consultative Committee member, Anil Tiwari said, “It has been observed in the past that any problem in the coaches is due to poor maintenance of the tracks, de-coupling cannot cause derailment.”