Mumbai-Pune intercity services hit as boulders fall onto tracks

Amid this incident, on-duty patrolman Motiram Lobhi emerged as the hero. His timely information not only averted a mishap but also helped restore the services faster than anticipated.

Kamal MishraUpdated: Friday, August 12, 2022, 08:33 PM IST
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Mumbai-Pune intercity services hit as boulders fall onto tracks | FPJ

The Central Railway worked non-stop from midnight to 8.30 am on Friday morning to remove boulders that had fallen on the Mumbai-Pune line in the south-east ghat section. Through intermittent rainfall and under extreme windy conditions, 100 labourers restored the train traffic that had already been delayed by seven hours. The area had received 232mm rainfall on Thursday.

The south-east ghat section from Karjat to Lonavala has three lines – the down line for Mumbai - Pune traffic, a bi-directional middle line and the up line for Pune - Mumbai traffic. It's one of the most critical sections with deep cuttings, high banks and tunnels. It's also vulnerable as heavy rainfall can cause incidents of boulder falling and landslides.

The boulders, on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday, fell from the hills on the tracks in the Nagnath-Palasdhari section on the up line. Ten trains towards Mumbai were diverted to the third line, each experiencing a delay of 30-60 minutes. The tracks and the overhead lines, meanwhile, suffered a slight damage that was repaired.

Amid this incident, on-duty patrolman Motiram Lobhi emerged as the hero. His timely information not only averted a mishap but also helped restore the services faster than anticipated. Lobhi first heard the boulders falling and rushed to the site, only to see 20 of them lying on the track along with debris. He immediately protected the track and stopped a locomotive by showing a red signal. He swiftly informed the senior officials in Lonavala and Mumbai, who took swift action of stopping the services on the up line and diverting the traffic on the middle line.

Officials said that 40 labourers and a boulder special train were rushed to the affected site from Lonavala. Several other labourers from Karjat and Khanda were also sent. Some other workers were mobilised from the nearby villages.

In this critical section of the ghats, monsoon patrolling is carried out round the clock in three daily shifts. In addition to patrolmen, stationary watchmen are also deployed at various locations, which are equipped with CCTV cameras, walkie talkies and group phones.

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