Duronto Express derails near Kalyan; no loss of lives

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on August 29, 2017

Off-track again Rescue workers trying to clear the wreckage of the Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express, which derailed near Asangaon, 70 km from Mumbai, on Tuesday. - VIVEK BENDRE

Railway Board chief stresses on safety in letter to staff

In the third rail accident in the past two weeks, the Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express derailed near Titwala in Kalyan, Maharashtra, on Tuesday. As it appears, this time it was incessant rains and landslides that led to the derailment of nine coaches and locomotives, thankfully not claiming any lives.

“The prima facie cause (of derailment) is a sudden landslide due to heavy rains,” an official release said, adding that passengers were subsequently taken to their destination by buses, cars and taxies.

Accident data for April-July 2017 show that of the 19 consequential rail accidents, 15 were derailments. Last year, in the same period, there were 48 consequential accidents, of which 28 were derailments. Also, equipment failure data showed that there were 673 rail failures during the period this year, against 636 in the same period last year.

Lohani’s pep talk

Meanwhile, in the backdrop of a series of accidents, Ashwani Lohani, the new Railway Board Chairman, reached out to 1.3 million railway personnel, asking them “to always be on guard to ensure the highest level of safety in train operations and instil a renewed sense of confidence in railway passengers.”

“This is my personal appeal to all my fellow railwaymen to put in their best effort to restore the old glory of the lifeline of the nation — the great Indian Railways,” he said in a letter addressed to the staff.

“I have always believed in the supremacy of the human resource. For me, my employees, not the customers, come first. For, it is my firm conviction that a contented and happy employee is the prerequisite for the success of any organisation. And this great organisation is no exception. I would therefore expect employee welfare to be the core concern of all railwaymen.”

Seeking employees’ support to re-establish the Railways’ brand, Lohani said the organisation needs to improve the operating ratio — the amount spent to earn a rupee — by reducing expenditure and by increasing freight loading. There is a need to find out other means of non-conventional revenue generation, he added. As the largest employer in the world under a single management, “we are the wheels on which the nation moves”, he pointed out.

“The sincerity, dedication and professional capability of the Railway employees, both officers and staff, is unparalleled,” said Lohani, who joins the enterprise at a time when staff morale is at a low. Several officials and staff were suspended or sent on leave following an accident near Khatauli, Uttar Pradesh.

Published on August 29, 2017
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