Ahmedabad-Puri express travels without engine, passengers safe

Bhubaneswar: Hundreds of passengers had a harrowing experience when coaches of the Ahmedabad-Puri express rolled down without any engine for few kilometres in Odisha’s Titlagarh on Saturday night.

This happened due to non-application of skid-brake on the wheels of the coaches by the staff deployed there.

According to rules, the staff should have put the skids. However, the railway staff managed to halt the detached portion of the train by putting stones on the track.

The ECoR authorities have suspended two engine drivers and three carriage repairing staff for dereliction of duty.

The incident occurred at Titlagarh when the engine was being detached from this train. The section from Titlagarh towards Kesinga has a downward slope.

“A case of rolling down of coaches of Ahmedabad-Puri express towards Kesinga side had occurred. This happened due to non-application of skid-brake on the wheels of the coaches by staff concerned,” East Coast Railway said in a statement.

“When the engine is detached to be attached at the other end, the coaches should be secured with skids at the wheels.  In this case, it appears that the skids have either not been placed or placed improperly. Facts will be known after detailed enquiry,” the statement said.

“Control room at Sambalpur took a very strategic decision. As there was UP gradient at Kesinga, they allowed the coaches to travel up to Kesinga without any intervention. Stopping the train on a down gradient could have resulted in an accident. The level crossing gates were ordered to be closed by the control room. The speed of coaches slowed down at UP gradient making it easier to bring the coaches to halt,” said ECoR.

ECoR general manager Umesh Singh has called for immediate corrective action and stringent exemplary action in the case.

He said strictest action would be initiated against the persons for any negligent act endangering the safety of trains.