Dehradun Express fire: Gateman’s presence of mind saves lives

“It’s my duty to report anything suspicious about the train when it passes the gate I patrol. Around 2.25 am when Dehradun Express was passing by I saw a thick layer of smoke emerging from the last two coaches of the train. I had never seen anything like this before,” narrated Mr.Singh

tmn1164Jawahar Singh, 33, the gateman, who alerted railway authorities, told that he had never ever seen an incident like this in his seven-year-old career.

Mr. Singh, a local resident, has been patrolling gate no. 60 between Gholwad and Dahanu Road station for the past couple of years, the spot where the ill-fated Dehradun Express caught fire on Wednesday. Nine passengers died in the incident.

“I was on night shift on Tuesday. It’s my duty to report anything suspicious about the train when it passes the gate I patrol. Around 2.25 am when Dehradun Express was passing by I saw a thick layer of smoke emerging from the last two coaches of the train. I had never seen anything like this before,” narrated Mr. Singh.

“There was no fire, just a thick cloud of black smoke emerging from the bogies. Since it was night time I could not wave the red flag and instead used a red torch to alert the guard on the train,” added Mr. Singh.

But the train was brought to a halt only after it had travelled around one-and-half kilometres. “The guard might have not noticed my signal and therefore I immediately alerted my station master, who got in touch with the authorities and brought the train to a halt,” added Mr. Singh.

Mr. Singh’s presence of mind helped save many lives. Mr. Singh said: “This is a forest area and therefore officials aren’t aware of the route to hospitals and other facilities in the area. I assisted many on how to reach there. I was just doing my job,” he added.

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