Pune: Train movement on the single-track Pune-Kolhapur section of the Central Railway ground to a halt on Wednesday after 16 wagons of a Guwahati-bound goods train from Sangli derailed on Wednesday at 5am near Adarki station, about 109km from Pune. There was no casualty. Railway officials are still trying to find out what caused the derailment.
The most severely affected were the north and southbound long-distance trains, which had to be diverted via Daund. Four trains, including an express and three passenger trains, were cancelled while nine express trains were diverted to other routes. One train was terminated at Pune station. The derailment left thousands of commuters stranded at various stations.
Sixteen of the 42 wagons of the sugar-loaded train, which was headeding towards New Guwahati station, got derailed. Efforts are under way to restore the track. It will be fixed on Thursday and trains will run as per schedule,” said an official.
A special counter was set up at Pune station to guide passengers whose journeys were affected. Trains on the Kolhapur-Satara-Pune section were diverted via Daund. Those who wished to travel from Daund were accommodated in trains going up to Daund. A facility for cancellation of journey and refunds was available.
Six wagons overturned, some were thrown off the track and others fell into a trench. All the wagons were from the middle section of the train. Work on restoring the track and removing the wagons that was taken up immediately was on till late Wednesday evening.
Teams from the engineering and other departments were at the spot. Heavy machinery, including two cranes, worked to restore the broken section of the track. A team from the headquarters of Central Railway was also present.
The administration moved about 10 wagons towards the locomotive side to Adarki station, while those behind were shunted to Wathar station to clear the track.
Divisional Railway Manager Suneet Sharma said, “About 500 labourers were deployed at the site to restore the track and remove the wagons that had got interlocked after the derailment. Work will continue through the night. We hope to restore the track and movement of trains by Thursday.”
Railway officials said an inquiry had been initiated to ascertain what caused the derailment. “It is still early for a conclusion. We will check the parameters and sequences, including the status of the track, speed of train, the signaling and telecom system. We will collect versions of locomotive’s driver and the train’s guard. All details from the station masters and pointsmen who were on duty at nearby stations will be collected,” officials said.
Officials from engineering, signal and telecom, mechanical and commercial departments of the railways will collect the information.
Passengers said the Pune-Miraj track must be doubled. Over 40 trains travel on this route every day, including passenger and express trains, but the administration has not taken steps to lay an additional line, they said. Authorities should take up the issue with the railway headquarters and the railway board to expedite the doubling of line, they said.
A senior official of the Pune division, who requested anonymity, said trains were diverted as it takes time to clear the bogies from the track. “A special counter has been set up at Pune station to guide passengers. Affected passengers were accommodated in trains headed to Daund. Refund was also made available for those wishing to cancel their tickets,” he said.
As many as eight long-distance trains had to be diverted via Daund station. The affected trains were Sampark Kranti Express, Yeshwantpur Express, Jodhpur Express (both up and down), Nizamuddin-Vasco da Gama Express, Puducherry-Dadar Express, Mahalaxmi Express, Sahyadri Express and the Hubli-Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Express.
As a result, passengers who had reserved their tickets from Pune station, needed to reach Daund to board their respective trains. Chaitanya Patwardhan, who was travelling to Delhi on the Nizamuddin Express, said it was inconvenient to travel to Daund and then switch platforms with luggage. “We had no other option. This being a peak season, all trains were packed. It was not possible to make an alternative arrangement.”
Raju Shinde, who had reserved tickets from Chennai for Pune on the Puducherry-Dadar express, said, all inter-city trains between Daund and Pune were overcrowded. “It took us three hours to reach Pune from Daund,” he said. It usually takes about an hour.
The incident also caused at least three regional trains to be cancelled — Mumbai-Kolhapur-Mumbai Koyna Express, Pune-Satara and Wathar- Pune passengers. The Gondia-Kolhapur Maharashtra Express was terminated at Pune.