Several motorists had a close shave on Monday evening as the Jhelum Express came to a grinding halt metres away from the railway crossing at Manjari near Hadapsar. Vehicles were stuck on the tracks after the railway gate was closed by the gateman.
Officials of the Pune division of Central Railways,which has launched a probe in the matter,said the train drivers presence of mind saved the lives of some two-wheeler riders and motorists. The incident occurred around 5.30 pm at Manjari railway crossing soon after the Indrayani Express coming from Solapur left the railway crossing and headed towards Pune. The gateman downed the boom but two-wheeler riders,pedestrians and a couple of motorists kept moving ahead.
In no time,the gates were down as the Jhelum Express was approaching from Pune,leaving the vehicular traffic stranded on the tracks while the pedestrians managed to move to safety.
The two-wheeler riders made desperate attempts to move away but could not succeed as the gate wouldnt open. The Jhelum Express had left Pune station at 5.20 pm.
Central Railway spokesperson Y K Singh said the driver of Jhelum Express spotted the vehicular traffic from a distance and brought the speeding train to a halt.
Since it was daytime,he could spot them. Prima facie it seems the gateman was at fault,but he cant be blamed as people refused to stop even as the boom was coming down. People are not ready to wait even for five minutes. They are in a hurry to cross over to other side, he said.