Duronto derailment: Railways awards drivers who saved lives


Team Udayavani, Sep 2, 2017, 4:28 PM IST

New Delhi : The railways today felicitated two drivers of the Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express for their alertness and exemplary dedication to duty in hours of crisis which helped save many lives. The engine and nine coaches of the train had derailed between Vasind and Asangaon stations in Maharashtra on August 29 following a landslide, the fourth derailment in 10 days.

Acknowledging their presence of mind and the services rendered on the day of the accident, Railway board chairman Ashwani Lohani said, “They (the drivers) displayed sincerity, dedication and performed like true railwaymen. And, we therefore recognise their services”.

Loco pilot mail Virendra Singh (52) and assistant loco pilot Abhay Kumar Pal (32), both employed with the central railway, were felicitated by Lohani in the presence of various senior officials and engineers of the national transporter. The drivers showed exemplary dedication to duty and displayed alertness and presence of mind, resulting in saving of hundreds of passengers by controlling the speed of the train, read the appreciation letter handed over to the drivers.

“Despite the sighting distance being very less due to sharp curvature and heavy rain on approach, they immediately applied the emergency brakes. Due to a quick response, impact of the locomotive hitting the mud was considerably reduced.

“Though the incident resulted in derailment of locomotive and nine coaches in the Igatpuri-Kalyan section, it did not result in injury to any of the passengers, as the speed was considerably reduced due to quick and prompt action by the staff,” it said.

Despite being affected themselves by the accident, the drivers “gained composure and alerted the control room about the gravity of the situation leading to immediate switching off of the OHE (overhead electricity) supply of both the lines (Up and Down) by the control, thereby avoiding a serious situation”.

An award of Rs 10,000 was also given by the railways to Singh and Rs 5,000 to Pal as a token of appreciation, officials said.

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