Alert locopilot averts major accident on new rail line

Protesting villagers had placed boulders on tracks during trial run

Alert locopilot averts major accident on new rail line

 An alert locopilot of a speeding train applied brakes after noticing boulders on tracks and averted a major accident on the newly laid rail line near Mallaghatta in Kunigal taluk of Tumakuru district on Thursday.

The incident happened when Commissioner of Railway Safety and over 200 South Western Railway (SWR) officials, mainly from the technical wing, were inspecting the new rail line and conducting a trial run in the train fitted with 10 coaches.

A group of residents from Mallaghatta village had placed boulders on the tracks to draw the attention to their demand for a raillway underpass in the village. The rail line passes through Mallaghatta. The villagers had earlier staged a protest, seeking an underpass in the village. The SWR had sanctioned a foot-over-bridge and the work had started a few months ago. But it was stalled midway. After they learnt of the trial run on Thursday, over 200 villagers placed boulders on the tracks to draw the attention of the officials.

The Railway police arrested Rafique, Shafi and Iqbal from Hirisave for instigating the
villagers to place boulders on the tracks. The arrested were produced in a court which remanded them in judicial custody.

SWR chief engineer S K Jain said in Bengaluru that railway officials were alerted about the placing of boulders, over phone.

“The train was moving at a speed of 90 kmph but we stopped nearly 200 metres away from the spot, thanks to the tip-off,” he said.

Jain said such behaviour is shocking. “When there is a demand, there is a proper channel to communicate it. Placing boulders on tracks is not the way. We told the villagers to make a presentation and we will take it up with the higher authorities,” he said.

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