Mumbai: The motorman’s cabin of Western Railway local trains will soon have mobile phone jammers, if the administration accepts suggestions by a four member probe committee, that had been inquiring into the Churchgate train mishap that took place on the morning of June 28. A probe committee also recommended installing track magnets to slow down speed of trains at terminating stations.
A Bhayandar-Churchgate fast local train had failed to stop in time and crashed into the buffer at Churchgate. Two coaches climbed onto the platform due to the impact, and five people were injured in the incident.
The committee inquired into all aspects of the accident, and has held the motorman, Laxmi Shankar Tiwari, guilty. His explanation was that he had suffered a black-out due to fluctuation in sugar levels as the train entered Churchgate, and could not recollect what happened thereafter.
In his initial statement, Tiwari also said he applied the brakes but due to some technical problem the train did not stop at the desired point but continued ahead. Tiwari is an old hand with more than 25 years of experience as a locomotive driver, and has been a motorman since 2006. It was had subsequently reported that the railways had been investigating into why exactly the motorman had deleted all his call records from his phone. While the authorities said that Tiwari’s railway phone did not reveal any records, sources said that he was probably preoccupied with his personal phone while braking.
In view of this, the committee has recommended mobile jammers in driving cabs, and that a mobile phone monitoring system should be put in place.
In fact, the railways had issued an eight-point guideline to monitor mobile phones of motormen, which is not being followed on suburban trains. The guidelines included giving declarations of the railway and personal mobile phones while signing on for duty so that they could be put on tracking mode, keeping all mobiles switched off while driving trains, mobiles to be used only under emergency, walkie-talkies to be used to contact suburban train staff if need be, and that those inspecting driving cabs must keep their mobile phones on silent mode.
The probe committee has also recommended severe action against two individuals — a motorman and a loco inspector — who entered the motorman’s cabin immediately after the Churchgate accident and tampered with the equipment.