Deekshith D V
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru
Mangaluru, Aug 1: Timely alert by a farmer averted a train derailment and a possible tragedy at Bondel-Pachanady railway track here on Saturday August 1.
Frank Fernandes, a farmer by profession, showed splendid presence of mind when he alerted the Mangaluru-Madgaon Intercity Express about a broken railway track and managed to stop it just in time.
While he was walking along the railway track at around 8:20 am to meet his neighbour Peter, Frank noticed that the track was fragmented by more than 1.5 inches and the track was out of alignment. At the same time, Peter also came there and saw the broken railway track.
Quickly grasping the gravity of the situation, Frank informed about the broken track to his younger brother Oswald Fernandes. They then learnt that the Mangaluru-Madgaon train was to pass over that same track at around at 8:30 am. Oswald advised Frank to stop the train by waving a red coloured cloth.
However, Frank had no red cloth at hand. Then a clever idea struck him. He collected a bunch of red Clerodendrum Paniculatum (Pagoda) flower and waved it frantically at the approaching train. The loco pilot who noticed Frank's signal stopped the train, just metres away from the fragmented portion.
Speaking to daijiworld, Frank Fernandes said, "Seeing that the track was broken and out of alignment I stopped the train by waving the red flowers, and immediately the train was stopped by the loco pilot. Later the matter was informed to the railway authority. The track was repaired and only then the train resumed its journey."
He also said that the train halted for more than 50 minutes while the technical experts repaired the track.
Sources said that the Mangaluru-Madgaon Intercity Express (train number 22636) halted from 8.58 am to 9.38 am.
His neighbour Peter said that he had heard a strange sound when a goods train had passed on the track, and when he came to check, he saw that the track was broken.
Frank's brother Oswald said, "As soon as I received a call from my brother I asked him to stop the train with some red coloured material. Later he also informed about the incident to his friend who has contact with the railways. Later technical experts from the railways department rushed to the spot to repair the track."
However, the railway officials kept mum about the issue and even denied that the train had been delayed. When daijiworld contacted DRM of Southern Railways over the phone, he refused to give any information. Nevertheless, reliable sources in the railways confirmed the incident.
Sources said that other trains were allowed on the track at a reduced speed of 30 kmph instead of the permitted 65 kmph. It is also learnt that the fragmentation of the track occurred due to weld failure.
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