MUMBAI: A motorman of a Churchgate-boundfast train jumped the red signal at Borivli on Wednesday morning, but a mishap was averted as the rake stopped after three coaches crossed the signal pole. Western Railway had to cancel 24 services, while many ran behind schedule due to the incident.
At 11.40am, a Virar-Churchgate local jumped the red signal on platform 5. Three compartments of the 12-car local had passed by the signal when the train was brought to a halt by the erring motorman himself. WR refused to spell out the reason for the incident but senior officials on condition of anonymity said that motorman J K Saha could have been at fault. He was immediately taken off duty and an inquiry will be conducted to ascertain the cause.
Sources said the error of judgment Saha’s part could have brought two Churchgate-bound trains on the same track. An official said, “Platform numbers 5 and 6 at Borivli are both used for Up direction trains. The signals for trains moving out of both these platforms are located close to each other on the same side. The motorman probably jumped the signal due absent-mindedly or was confused by the location of the signal poles. He mistook the green signal meant for the train on platform 6 as being for his train. There could have been panic if the Churchgate-bound train on platform 6 had started moving simultaneously.”
Since the train on platform 6 didn’t start at the time, a side collision was averted. Also, the train on platform 5 could have derailed had it hit the points and crossings where trains interchange tracks.
WR motormen have also blamed the location of signal for this incident. A motorman said, “More than a year ago, the signal on platform 5 was moved from the left side of the track to the right. Motormen are comfortable with signals on the left. In fact, we have complained to the administration about the confusion it causes at Borivli.” The motorman also claimed that Auxillary Warning System (AWS) was not working or else the pilot of the train could have been forewarned about the signal being on red aspect. “In such cases, an assistant who is well-versed with the working of the signal accompanies the motorman. However, it seems that the assistant deputed on this train too failed in his duty,” he said.
However, a senior official said, “The motorman involved in this incident has an experience of 11 years. Motormen are aware about the location of each and every signal on the route and hence the reasoning is not justified. Moreover, in a city like Mumbai there are space constraints, which don’t allow us the liberty to install signals at points of our choice,” adding, “The enquiry will establish if the motorman was at fault or the signal was not working properly. We will also check the role of the guard in this incident.”