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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Barmer Guwahati Exp runs 20 kms ~~ backwards & without engine

Some consider travel by train very interesting ~ Indian Railway criss-crosses the entire Nation and some of its journeys stretch beyond two days……..  from its inaugural run from Bombay to Thane in 1853, Indian Railways has come a very long way.   Now here is something on a train whose travel time is : 48h-35m; has 29 halts; covers a distance of 2453 km running at an average speed of 50 km/hr… it connects Barmar to Guwahati…..

Barmer is located in the western part of Rajasthan, forming a part of the Thar Desert. The district is surrounded by Jaisalmer, Jalore, Pali and Jodhpur districts and  Pakistan in the west.  Like all other districts in the desert region, Barmer is known for its folk music and dance. The Bhopas (priest singers) are found in Barmer, who compose music in honour of the deities of the region and its war heroes.  The name Barmer is derived from the ruler Bahada Rao Parmar (Panwar) or Bar Rao Parmar (Panwar) who is said to have founded the town in the 13th century, when it was named Bahadamer (“The Hill Fort of Bahada”).  Barmer is famous for its carved wooden furniture and hand block printing industry.  In the recent past, it has gained prominence due to the operations of Cairn Energy and the large oil basin.  It also has Uttarlai military airbase, which is the Nation’s first under ground airbase.

It is news for different reasons ~ reports state that a major tragedy was averted when all the 13 coaches of Barmer-Guwahati Express without engine travelled a distance of about 20 km on track's downward slope from Barmer railway station and stopped only after crossing six level-crossings on Sunday night. Yes, the train ran backwards and without an engine…. !!!
photos and news courtesy : 

Reports state that the train was put on the platform in shunting mode much ahead of its scheduled departure of 11 pm when its coaches got released at around 9 pm. Though railway authorities had no idea of number of passengers in the engine-less train but according to Barmer station staff and local journalists around 400-500 passengers were onboard who had occupied seats during shunting. The passengers initially failed to comprehend the situation. However as the train assumed speed of around 40-45 km per hour they got alarmed. Some of them pulled the chain to stop it, but in vain.  Upon being alerted, crude attempts were made to stop the train without engine by putting stones and sand on the track. It, however, failed miserably, pointed out Barmer station staff.

As the arrival of Kalka-Barmer Chandigarh express had neared the track of the running coaches was changed. The coaches finally stopped after travelling around 20 km. Ultimately, coaches were brought back by sending the train's engine and train could leave about 20 minutes behind schedule.

Really surprising that a train [Barmer-Guwahati Express] could break free and hurtle backwards  at great speed.  Fortunately, this did not cause any mishap, but has triggered a major safety scare for the passengers as the Kalka-Barmer Chandigarh Express was coming from opposite direction at the same time.

The Barmar Guawahti Express running for 2 days is no way closer to the longest running train in terms of time… earlier it was Himsagar Express running 3715 km.   From Nov. 2011,  India’s longest running train  is  ‘Vivek Express’ running from Dibrugarh in Assam to Kanyakumari, in  Tamil Nadu. The train covers 4,286 km in 82.30 hours

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
26th Mar 2013.


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