General Manager Shri Gajanan Mallya appreciated the presence of mind, swift action by the Loco Pilot, Asst Loco Pilot and Guard of the Train No 01134 (Mangaluru Jn – Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Mumbai). He also announced a cash award to recognize their good deed.
On 23.7.2021, at about 6.10 AM, while driving the engine of this train from Kulem towards Castle Rock (up the Ghat), at km 39/800 near Dudhsagar-Sonaulim section, the Locopilot of the leading engine Shri Ranjeet Kumar observed that the mud was slipping ahead on the track from the sidewalls of the hill beside the track, due to continuous very heavy rainfall. Sensing danger, he immediately applied emergency brakes and brought the train to a stop.
Due to mud and soil mixed boulders on the track, the engine got derailed along with 2 sets of wheels, despite the immediate braking. He informed the Station Master of Dudhsagar about the same, to give a message to Control Office, Hubballi.
Upon noticing the emergency brake being applied, the Guard of the train Shri Shailder Kumar applied hand brakes to the Brake Van, which is situated rearmost of the train and then proceeded to the engine. Parallelly the Guard and Locopilot instructed the Assistant Locopilots of the leading and banking engines to place detonators at stipulated distance on the track at both rear & front, and also secured the train by tying chains to the track, placing wheel-skids etc as per standard safety protocol.
Ranjeet and Shailender noticed that from the steep cutting of the hill beside the track, slush and mud were also falling on the coaches immediately rear to the front engine. In order to ensure the protection of passengers, they shifted the passengers from the first 3 coaches to the rear coaches and un-coupled these coaches from the rest of the train.
Displaying alertness, and presence of mind, the crew took instruction from their senior Officers in Hubballi Divisional Control Office and utilised the rear (banking) engine to pull the train with 345 passengers back to Kulem Station. The Guard Shri Shailender Kumar accompanied along with Locopilot Shri SD Meena, Assistant Loco Pilot Shri SK Saini to take the train safely, with passengers to Kulem, while Ranjeet Kumar and his Assistant Shri Hashid K stayed back with the derailed engine near the spot to assist in restoration.
BACKGROUND OF THE GHAT SECTION
The Castle Rock – Kulem Ghat section is 27 km long: it is a single line rail section passing through western Ghats in the uninhabited territory through forested areas.
The entire Ghat section has a steep gradient (1 in 37) and trains are pushed with engines in the rear (for providing sufficient horsepower) in addition to the engines in front. The stations between Castle Rock and Kulem, namely Caranzol, Dudhsagar & Sonaulim are connected only by rail with no road connectivity. This is challenging terrain. On 22.7.21 and 23.7.21, this section witnessed an intense rainfall of 640 mm in 48 hours, which resulted in land-slide.
For displaying courage and exemplary presence of mind in taking swift action to shift passengers to safer coaches, and transport the train back to Kulem, the General Manager SWR Shri Gajanan Mallya has appreciated the Crew and announced a cash reward as a sign of encouragement.
The Crew of this train, have acted as ‘first responder’ at site, even before the rescue team arrived, resulting in saving of the lives of passengers.