An alert loco-pilot of a goods train averted a mishap on Friday evening in Pune district after he applied emergency brakes to bring the train to halt about 100 metres from 20 labourers who were walking on the tracks. The incident took place the same day as the mishap in Aurangabad district, when 16 migrant labourers were killed on the railway tracks.
The incident happened around 7 pm between Urali and Loni railway stations. Officials from the Pune Division of the Central Railway said the loco-pilot used his “presence of mind” to avert a possible tragedy.
Officials said the goods train had started from Daund railway station and was headed towards Pune. “When the train reached near Urali railway station around 7 pm, the driver noticed some people with bags walking on the tracks. He applied emergency brakes and the train came to a halt about 100 metres from the group. He then informed the railway control room,”said an official.
A senior official said they have appealed to people not to use railway tracks. “Though services of long-distance trains are on hold, goods and parcel trains along with ‘Shramik Special’ trains are operating. People are under the impression that trains are not in operation due to the ongoing lockdown. Many migrants have been found walking on railway tracks to reach their destinations. This is illegal and poses a big risk to their lives,” the official added.
Meanwhile, the Railways has alerted station masters, gatemen, track men and other field officials to keep a close watch on railway tracks for any trespassing.
Railway officials said people are venturing on to the tracks as police have set up check points on roads and are turning back people. “People are therefore turning to tracks,” an official said.
Arun Tripathi, divisional security commissioner, said they do not have much manpower to monitor every stretch of the track, adding that they are taking help from everyone. “Be it station masters, gatemen, trackmen or even city police, we have urged everyone to stop people from venturing on to the tracks,” Tripathi said.
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