CRS to inquire into Mumbai Mail loco fire incident

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 08 May 2018 09:51:01


Staff Reporter,

Railway Board seeks inquiry under Commission of Inquiry to get at bottom of the matter that had risked lives of hundreds of passengers of Train No. 12810

Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) will conduct probe into Sunday’s incident of fire in locomotive of Howrah-Mumbai Mail in Central Railway’s Nagpur Division that claimed life of an Assistant Loco Pilot (ALP). The incident also left Loco Pilot D S Brahme injured. He is undergoing treatment at a hospital in city. The inquiry was sought by Railway Board given the grave danger that passenger safety was in aftermath of fire in the locomotive of the train travelling at a speed of about 100 km/hr.

Without wasting much time, the Board communicated its decision to the Zone which in turn passed on the information to the division officials. Senior officials from the Zone are also expected to look into the matter which is a wake-up call for Railways.

Earlier, as per the procedure, a three-member team was constituted by DRM to inquiry into the incident.
CRS inquiry is statutory in nature and its report remains confidential till it is presented directly in the Parliament.
Normally, an inquiry under Commission of Inquiry is conducted in Railways in case of a mishap resulting in loss of human life or damage to a passenger train or to Railway property exceeding Rs 25 lakh.

But in this particular case, apart from angle of loss, decision on CRS inquiry could have been taken to ensure neutrality during the investigation and learn exact cause of fire in the locomotive.  Rumours were making rounds about the locomotive being old hence caught fire.
A CRS inquiry could go long way in addressing the situation and avoid recurrence of such incident in future, the sources pointed out.

But there is match to the heroics of Loco Pilot D S Brahme. His timely action saved lives of passengers as he had jeopardised his own life in process of bring the locomotive to halt. Apart from burn injuries on his hands, the steam that blew out from the engine room at back also caused damage to Brahme’s eyes, it is learnt. Also, his lungs were filled with the thick black smoke that had engulfed the locomotive following a blast.

The incident has, however, shaken the Railways which wants a deeper investigation to ascertain what caused the fire in the locomotive that was towing the 12810 Howrah-Mumbai Mail. Brahme, who gave statement about the entire incident on Monday, said, he heard a blast as they crossed Talni station. This was about 2 kms after Talni and next stop was Dhamangaon station.

The speed according to Brahme was about 90-100 km/hr and Dhamangaon station was just five to seven minutes away on Sunday evening when the unfortunate incident occurred. He said that after the blast the locomotive was filled with thick black smoke hampering visibility. He, somehow, managed to opening the door of the cabin but the gushing air fanned the fire inside.
Though the situation was fast slipping out of hand, he kept his cool and managed to apply emergency brakes and stopped the locomotive. The action resulted in bringing the fire under control.

As per the information provided by Brahme, it is cleat that had there been even little more delay then a major mishap was on cards. This is because as the train nears the station it has to move onto loop line from the crossover for which the maximum permissible speed is 10 km/hr. The train needs to be carefully negotiated from the crossover to its berthing point at the station.

“Had the train with its locomotive on fire approached Dhamangaon station at the speed of about 100 km/hr derailment was imminent. If the Loco Pilot had taken time to stop the train, a major mishap would have shaken us,” said the division officials.

DRM Somesh Kumar inspects locomotive

Somesh Kumar, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Central Railway, Nagpur Division, way away in Mumbai when the incident occurred on Sunday evening. While returning by Nagpur-bound Sewagram Express, DRM made it a point to stop at Pulgaon to get details about the incident.
After alighting at Pulgaon railway station at around 4 am, Kumar went straight to CAD Hospital, Pulgaon where mortal remains of ALP S K Vishwakarma (32) were kept. He held discussion with railway officials. He was briefed by the doctors at the hospital, said the sources.

The DRM later inspected the locomotive that had caught fire and caused scare among the passengers of Mumbai-bound Mail. Senior division officials were already present at Pulgaon to brief DRM about Sunday evening occurrence that had rang alarm bells all the way to Rail Bhawan in New Delhi.

After reaching city, Kumar visited Meditrina Hospital where Loco Pilot D L Brahme was admitted. He interacted with him and got first hand information about the matter. A down to earth person, Brahme said, whatever he did was part of his duty.
When asked what would have happened in case the burning locomotive was not stopped? the Loco Pilot said his mind at that was focussed on ensuring that the power is stopped anyhow. He described the scene in aftermath of fire and DRM complimented Brahme for his act of bravery.

CRS to conduct open inquiry at Wardha Railway Station on May 10

Sushil Chandra, Commissioner of Railway Safety, Central Circle, Mumbai, will conduct an open inquiry at Wardha station on May 10 into the incident of fire in locomotive of Howrah-Mumbai Mail.

CRS will sit from 11 am to 6 pm at Wardha railway station and go through details, the logs, maintenance book relating to maintenance and movement of said locomotive. The WAP4 Loco no. 22936 caught fire at railway km 715/11 after crossing Talni railway station on Talni-Dhamangaon section.

Chief Safety Officer, South Eastern Railway, has been asked to send all documents of loco no. 22936 to DRM, Central Railway, Nagpur Division, so that same could be presented before CRS. The locomotive was attached to the train from Howrah which falls under SER Zone.
People having any information or knowledge about the incident should forward the same to office of CRS, Central Circle, 2nd floor, Churchgate Station Building Annexe, Maharshi Karve Road, Mumbai-400020, or Fax them on 022-22056058 or contact in person on telephone no. 022-22056058. The district and police administration of Wardha district and General Manager, Central Railway, are also issued notices to depute their officer for assisting during the inquiry. Railway Board too has been asked to get themselves represented in the inquiry by nominating an officer for the same.



Officials, colleagues pay tributes to Vishwakarma

The mortal remains of ALP S K Vishwakarma was taken to his native place, Gaya in Bihar, for cremation. On Sunday night Vishwakarma’s wife, Ruby, was admitted to Divisional Railway Hospital as she could not bear the trauma and was put under sedation. Accompanied by Assistant Personnel Officer (APO) and a Welfare Inspector, she left for Gaya on Monday morning. Vishwakarma is also survived by a two-year-old daughter Surbhi.

Incidentally, a fortnight back, Vishwakarma couple had celebrated their third marriage anniversary. The couple resided in Ajni Railway Colony.
As per the information, smoke started billowing from engine room of the locomotive following which ALP Vishwakarma went to check the section where auxiliary power is located. He noticed a relay panel lying down on the floor and affixed it. Even as he was busy with repairs, he is reportedly hit by a blast of steam. Such was the force that ALP Vishwakarma was thrown off the locomotive. He landed on the ballast on adjoining track. He sustained grievous head injuries to which he later succumbed.

Body of Vishwakarma was brought to city on Monday and was taken to Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital (IGGMC&H) for post-mortem.
Later, the mortal remains were brought to office of DRM where DRM Somesh Kumar led the division staff including officers and colleagues in paying tributes to Vishwakarma.
Meanwhile, DRM has ordered Personnel Branch to process the settlement of ALP Vishwakarma on priority basis. The next of kin of the ALP will be eligible for ex-gratia, compensation from Karmachari Kalyan Kosh and other admissible dues.



PCPO Swaminathan pats Loco Pilot Bramhe for act of bravery

Acting swiftly, N Swaminathan, Principal Chief Personnel Officer (PCPO), Central Railway, arrived at Nagpur Division on Monday and met Loco Pilot D L Brahme. CPO patted Brahme for going beyond the call of duty and saving lives of thousands of passengers travelling by Howrah-Mumbai Mail, on Sunday.

PCPO Swaminathan visited the hospital where Brahme is recuperating and talked with doctors and also heard as to how a major mishap was averted.
Earlier, D K Sharma, on directions of D K Sharma, General Manager, also talked to Loco Pilot D L Brahme and wished him speedy recovery.
Sharma applauded the courage shown by Loco Pilot and also latter’s presence of mind under very difficult situation, it was learnt.