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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ajmer bound Shatabdi Exp ran with a broken wheel !!

In the Chennai Central Station, as we wait for boarding a train, one could see a small group of employees walking – checking every compartment’s coupling.  One would also have observed some sitting at the entrance of the platforms, looking at the wheels …..

A train wheel is  specially designed for use on rail tracks. A rolling component is typically pressed onto an axle and mounted directly on a rail car or locomotive.    The train wheels are made of steel unlike that of automobiles  - trains weigh thousands of times more than a car, the rolling resistance is a huge factor in determining how much force it takes to pull the train.
There are many types of passenger trains in India – local EMUs, passenger trains, Mails, Super fast, Express, Shatabdi, Rajdhani …. Shatabdi Expresses connect major metro cities with important places of tourism, pilgrimage and business.  Most of the Shatabdi Express are day-trains.  They are among the fastest trains in India and considered prestigious too.  The word "Shatabdi" means centenary in Sanskrit, Hindi and several Indian languages. The first Shatabdi train was started in 1988 to commemorate the centenary of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru's Birthday (the First Prime Minister of India) by Madhav Rao Scindia and was operated from New Delhi to Jhansi, later extended to Bhopal. It is now known as the Bhopal Shatabdi Express.

Among some of the occupations connected with Indian Railways are : Brakeman – a worker whose job was to assist the braking of a train by applying brakes on individual wagons. The advent of through brakes on trains made this role redundant, although the name lives on.  A pointsman’s job is to operate various railway switches or points on a railroad.  A motorman is the title for a person who operates an electrified trolley car, tram, light rail, or rapid transit train. The operator of an electric locomotive or an electric multiple unit train on a commuter or mainline railroad is typically called an engineer or driver. For the safety of train movement, there is signalling (receiving / relaying of communications); Coupling or uncoupling rolling stock; maintaining, repairing, modifying, monitoring, inspecting or testing and more…

There have  been accidents involving loss of lives – Daily Mail reports of an incident of miraculous escape for Shatabdi Express passengers as  the super-fast train ran  at 110km per hour with a broken wheel

The report states that - Passengers aboard the Ajmer bound Shatabdi Express from New Delhi had a lucky escape on Monday after the super-fast train chugged on nearly eight kilometres at 110km per hour on a broken wheel. The 300-odd passengers on board the train included foreign tourists. The broken wheel was brought to the notice of a railway official at Bobas railway station, around 40km from Jaipur, by gateman Kaluram when he saw smoke rising and heard an awkward sound coming from the train.  It states that the Express train had run for nearly 8km on a broken wheel before the problem was noticed.

When the train was crossing Bobas at around 11.35am, he saw the smoke and heard a sound, realising that something was wrong in its running. He immediately reported it to assistant station master Ramavtar. However, before Ramavtar could grasp the situation and do something, the train crossed the station. He immediately informed railway superintendent Kaluram Meena at the next station, Asalpur-Jobner, who stopped the train. Engineers and other officials then reached the spot to trace the fault. A safety check-up revealed that half a wheel attached to its generator car van was broken.  The damaged wheel was replaced at Asalpur-Jobner before the train was allowed to move forward.  The train, however, had to be halted for about two hours while the repair was carried out.

Sources said that it is customary to put the wheels through an ultrasonic check that can detect even a minor crack. Moreover, an intensive check of the Shatabdi Express is carried out in Delhi before its departure.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
13th Nov. 2014

Photo and news credit : Daily Mail.

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