Central Railway Signal Maintainer stops Mumbai Local Train seconds away from Rail Fracture

Electric Signal Maintainer Santosh Kumar ran towards the approaching Asangaon-CST fast waving his walkie-talkie to warn the motorman of the impending danger.

MUMBAI: A Central Railway (CR) signal maintainer was hailed a hero on Saturday after he managed to get a local train to halt just a few feet away from a rail fracture near Byculla, preventing a potentially catastrophic derailment.

Electric Signal Maintainer Santosh Kumar, who had spotted the fracture just minutes before, ran towards the approaching Asangaon-CST fast gesticulating wildly to warn the motorman of the impending danger and managed to stop the train seconds before it would have run over the cracked track.

The train remained stationary for nearly 20 minutes as an emergency maintenance team clamped the fissure. The train later went over the clamped part of the track at 10 km/hour. In-charge Divisional Railway Manager Sanjay Kumar Pankaj said Santosh Kumar showed exemplary courage and presence of mind. “He will be suitably rewarded on Monday,” he said.

Santosh Kumar, who joined the railways in 2007, was in his signalling cabin when he noticed track circuit’s lights flashing. The flashing lights indicate a problem – but it could be anything from a signal malfunction to a rail fracture. He immediately stepped out and managed to spot the fractured rail.

Santosh Kumar then got in touch with the central cabin at Byculla on his walkie-talkie and requested that no train be allowed on the track. A panicked controller told him the Asangaon-CST fast local had already been diverted onto that track.

Santosh Kumar knew that he had very little time. He started running in the direction of the on-coming train signalling the motorman to stop. The motorman, who took some time to understand what was happening, applied the brakes when he saw a man running towards the train with a walkie-talkie in his left hand. “I saw the crack. It was substantial. Anything could have happened. Santosh Kumar should be commended for what he has done,” said the motorman, who did not wish to be identified.

The Asangaon-CST fast local was diverted to the slow track as a routine operational manoeuvre and its stalling because of the rail fracture led to some disruption and a few trains ran late through the evening.