Narrow Gauge Train escapes Sabotage bid on Gwalior-Sheopur line

Miscreants had placed around 70 Stone Slabs on the two-foot-wide tracks continuously for 3km distance, jeopardising the lives of hundreds of passengers.

BHOPAL: Sabotage attempts continue to plague the world’s longest narrow gauge tracks — the 202km Gwalior-Sheopur line that dates back to 1895. The latest derailment bid was foiled by the alertness of the motorman on Wednesday night.

Miscreants had placed around 70 stone slabs on the two-foot-wide tracks, jeopardising the lives of hundreds of passengers, said officials. As it is the only railway link for towns between these two districts, nearly 1,000 passengers pile on these trains every day, some travelling dangerously on the roof.

The train was heading towards Gwalior from Sumawali when loco pilot Rajesh Jain spotted large stones on the tracks. He pulled the emergency brakes and the train stopped less than 10 feet from the stones. The obstruction was removed and the train continued but only 300 metres down the line, Jain saw another large stone. Since he was going slow, he was able to stop well in time. This blockade was cleared with the help of passengers. But the ordeal continued. They found 68 more slabs in the next 3km.

Speed was reduced to 10kmph and it took nearly two hours to cover just 3km, sources said. The train had left Sumawali at 6.32pm and reached Gwalior at 9pm where the matter was reported. Investigations are underway to identify and arrest those involved, say sources. This is not the first time attempt to derail a train on this line, say sources.

The heritage track, once known as Gwalior Light Railway (GLR) or ‘Maharaja Railways of India’, is now part of North Central Railway (NCR). The railways wants to replace the narrow gauge tracks with broad gauge because of “undue expenditure”. A proposal of Rs 1,500 crore for this is pending with the Centre, sources said.

Established by Maharaja Madhav Rao Scindia II, construction started in 1895 and was completed in 1909. The route connects 28 small towns between Gwalior and Sheopur. In 2009, the Centre had proposed that the tracks be included in UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites.

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