Youngsters’ Presence of Mind Averts Train Disaster on Outskirts
Mangaluru: Sometime last year, a resident of the city had observed a crack in the Konkan railway track on the northern outskirts of the city. A train was to pass by within minutes and a disaster was looming large.
Without any immediate material available to warn the driver of the imminent danger, he had plucked a large red flower and waved it at the train arriving from a distance.
The alert driver of the train noticed it and applied sudden brakes to bring it to a grinding halt. A major disaster was averted and hundreds of lives were saved.
In a similar incident on Wednesday, two youngsters from Kudupu-Vamanjoor showed remarkable presence of mind in ensuring the stoppage of a Duronto Express train, thus avoiding a ‘durant’.
Duronto, although having different connotations in other languages, means “without rest” in Bengali, a name given to express trains during the tenure of the erstwhile railway minister Mamta Bannerji.
Harshit from Kudupu was getting ready to go to work on Wednesday morning. Henry D’Souza, a neighbour of his and a senior citizen, brought to his notice that the railway track passing nearby had developed a breach at the fish-plates fitted between two rails.
Harshit had a look at it and realized the possible hazard and brought a red T-shirt from home. His friend Pradeep D’Silva joined him and he reminded him that the Ernakulam-Delhi Duronto Express was to pass on the track within minutes.
They rode a bike and waited at a strategic point on the track waving the red shirt. The driver spotted them and slowed down the train. He stopped it close to the place where the breach was found and got down to inspect it.
Workers on duty at a tunnel nearby arrived and set right the bolts and nuts of the rails. The railway staff is said to have taken the photographs and contact numbers of the two youngsters, obviously to report the matter to the higher authorities.
However, the duo did not even hear a word of thanks from the staff, according to Harshit. It is yet to be seen if the railway authorities recognize and reward them for their presence of mind.
Although the gangmen are expected to check the tracks on a regular basis, this could have been a case of oversight, said the staff.
Express trains travel at a high speed between stations. As such, it could have been a major disaster.