Safety Breach: Gatiman and Malwa Express Drivers Suspended

The drivers and assistants of Gatiman Express and Malwa Express were suspended after running their trains at 120 kmph in a section with a 20 kmph speed limit due to bridge repairs. This serious lapse, occurring near Agra Cantt, highlights stress and working conditions faced by loco pilots.

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 24-05-2024 19:31 IST | Created: 24-05-2024 19:31 IST
Safety Breach: Gatiman and Malwa Express Drivers Suspended
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The drivers of Gatiman Express and Malwa Express along with their assistants have been suspended for running their trains at 120 kmph in a section where the cautionary speed limit was restricted at 20 kmph.

The incident took place recently in which the trains' crews violated the precautionary speed limit in the same section, ie, between Jajau and Mania railway station near Agra Cantt, where a temporary speed restriction has been imposed due to an ongoing renovation work of a railway bridge.

Prashati Srivastava, PRO, Agra Division, confirmed the incident and said "disciplinary action has been taken against all concerned staff". "In the first incident, the loco pilot and assistant loco pilot of the Gatiman Express, India's first semi-high speed train which runs at 160 kmph speed between Hazrat Nizamuddin in Delhi and Virangana Lakshmibai Jhansi Junction in Uttar Pradesh, violated the advisory speed restriction after the train left Agra Cantt for Gwalior,'' said a railways source.

"Just a couple of days after the Gatiman incident, drivers of another train, Malwa Express, which runs between Katra (Jammu) and Indore (Madhya Pradesh), too committed a similar violation at the same spot and steered the train at 120 kmph," he added.

The railways officials say that in a normal course, the said section allows all superfast as well as semi-high speed trains to run at 120 kmph. However, the repair work of a river bridge was recently started due to which this restriction of 20 kmph has been imposed.

"It seems that they might have forgotten to slow down the train at the caution. It is unexpected for loco pilots and it is a serious lapse as it could have risked hundreds of passengers' lives," said an official, associated with the operating department, adding the railways treats such lapses very seriously. The railways imposes speed restrictions for safe operation of the trains for various reasons such as track condition, ongoing track repair work, old railway bridges, station yard remodelling etc.

The officials also say that before boarding the engine, the loco pilots and their assistants obtain a complete route chart along with advisories and cautionary speed limits from the concerned operating department and they are supposed to maintain the speed accordingly.

"The assistant driver calls out loudly these advisories and cautions and the driver repeats it to confirm. It is very surprising how both of them missed out on it," a railways source said.

"It happened with two trains. This indicates rising stress and harsh working conditions faced by the loco pilots. The railways should get to the bottom of the problem in the interest of passengers' safety,'' said M. Thirumurugan, secretary general of Indian Railway Loco Runningmen Organisation -- a body of loco pilots.

''Loco pilots are also human beings whose minds can be bogged down with various issues, including their personal ones. The railways need to take the holistic approach," he added.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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