Train hits cement slab
Passengers of the Mumbai-bound Shalimar Express had a narrow escape early on Saturday morning, when the train hit a cement milestone on the track near the Kherwadi railway station, about 18 km from Nashik Road railway station.
A similar incident happened at Navi Mumbai a few days ago, when a piece of rail was placed on a track. The motorman of the Pune-Santragachi Express, which was coming from Pune, did not notice the metal bar in the dark and the locomotive hit it, but there was no damage to life or property. The incident near Nashik happened at 12:47 am on Saturday and the train was moving at considerable speed, said railway officials. The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has lodged an FIR with the Nashik rural police station against unknown persons.
The train, coming from Kolkata, was heading for the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) in Kurla, Mumbai. A team of Maharashtra An ti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) inspected the site of the incident, even as the railway police visited the site with sniffer dogs.
What lent credence to the railway officials’ suspicion of sabotage is the fact that the Amritsar Mumbai (CST) Pathankot Express had passed through the spot just about half-an-hour before the Shalimar Express hit the cement slab.
“If the Pathankot Express could pass through the same track without any problem, how come suddenly the cement slab found its way on the tracks after that. There could be foul play. The entire incident is being probed by the railways,” S K Gupta, divisional railway manager of Bhusawal division of Central Railway , told.
“The motorman of Shalimar Express stopped the train at the Odha Railway station, 7 km from the Nashik Road station, for some time before the train resumed its onward journey. The cattle guard (iron mesh) in front of the engine was damaged in the incident,” he added.
The cement block found on the track was 45 cm high, 25 cm wide and 20 cm thick and weighs about 20 kg. These structures are fixed on rail bridges.
The RPF said that all the security and safety measures were in place and there was no chance that it (cement milestone) could be kept on the tracks by railway staff involved in maintaining the tracks.
“The Central Railway had already issued instructions to its engineering department to ensure all engineering gadgets on tracks are in proper shape so that there are no chances of any incident. Hence, there is no possibility that the cement block could be there on the track,” an RPF officer said.