Nagpur Diamond Crossing Incident

2004-11-29

Loco breaks Panto at Nagpur Diamond Crossing - Delay of 2 hrs - Report

Fun time for NGP station administration folks today. They seemed to make one goof up after another. They must have been thankful to get back home in one piece today.

1st (that I know of), Some trains running late.. Howrah Pune Azad Hind Express too, is announced as arriving 15 minutes late... No big deal you say... Read on.

  • 15.55 Azad Hind Express enters Nagpur Yard area with WAM4 6P 21279 from BSL.
  • 15.56 Azad Hind Express crosses diamond crossing (search for pictures of diamond crossing at irfca.org photo gallery) with panto down. Nothing unusual.
  • 15.57 Driver raises Panto, it goes up, some problem crops up, panto topples towards the trailing cab, shortcircuits the OHE with body and loco trips. Driver does not know this, tries to close DJ again, loco again trips. This time driver looks at the Panto and finds Panto broken! Loco has travelled some 15-20 metres from the Diamond Crossing and has stopped conveniently between two section isolators.
  • 15.59 Driver radios problem to traction controller. Azad Hind Exp rake and LOCo stalled blocking both NGP-Delhi lines from Goods Yard and both NGP-Howrah Lines from Passenger Yard as well as Goods Yard. All Goods yard movement to north and east blocked.
  • 16.05 No sign of any action being taken. Train standing dead in yard. Many passengers for Nagpur get out. I find out and rush to the 'scene'.
  • 16.10 Only a couple of engineering staff arrive at the scene. Still no action being taken. Everyone is busy figuring out things even now ;-). Lots of discussion. No action.
  • 16.15 More officials arrive at the scene creating proportionately more chaos on the scene. Everyone ordering others to do something. Nothing moving an inch. Some people are looking for discharge rods and more importantly looking for people to bring discharge rod to site.
  • 16.16 Others are busy deciding which place the discharge rod is to be brought in from. Contractor on site offers his discharge rod (don't get ideas) but says no people to bring it to site. This unexpected element brings in more confusion ;-).
  • 16.18 Shunter asked to come in. Plan of Action now is that loco may be restarted after removing damaged panto on site and taking train into platform. Discharge rod nowhere in sight.
  • 16.19 Senior official asked to do something by superior but is more interested in going to check OHE at diamond crossing so that he can write in report that everything there was OK.
  • 16.20 Traction control asked to shut off OHE to that particular section. Driver displeased and afraid of what may happen afterwards ;-). Plan of Action now is to remove the collector and tie down the rest of the assembly, then run the loco to BSL as it is with the load!!! Lots of walking around in the meantime. Contractor watching the fun with amusement.
  • 16.25 Things start moving. Shunter gets clearence and inches into the line. The much in demand discharge rod finally makes an appearence with two or three of station staff.
  • 16.30 Discharge rod is quickly assembled and hooked up to OHE after confirming OHE isolated and shut. Shunter attached to front of WAM4.
  • 16.32 Three people climb up on the roof and remove the collector of the broken Panto and lower it into the cab. Their speed at removing the collector pan impressed me.
  • 16.33 They then try to push the elbow of the panto further down so that it does not come into contact with the OHE under any circumstances. Doesn't budge. More hitech method used after that. Someone manages to get a footing on the elbow, gets a hold on the catenary and jumps on the elbow ;-).
  • 16.38 Even hi tech methods do not work, everyone gives up, panto arm is to be secured, control told to arrange for another loco. This one to be detached. Line clear gotten for platform.
  • 16.40 Panto tied down, everyone gets off the rooftop of the loco. Passengers' faces angry. Looking for excuse to beat up someone. I try not to be that someone.
  • 16.45 Discharge rod removed, staff climbs into locos, WDS6 shunter blows horn, loco starts up slowly. Rake doesn't wanna budge... Oops! Dead WAM4 brakes not released ;-)... Loco slowly moves with brake blocks screaming for mercy.
  • 16.46 Loco brakes released, WDS6 sings a throaty song, train starts towards platform finally at 5 kph. (I can walk along with it).
  • 16.50 Train reaches Platform, begins its 'inspection parade' with Deputy SS and other staff standing on the front of the short hood of the loco. Passengers on platform wondering what the hell is happenning.
  • 16.55 Boy telling seemingly interested girl of what IR will be doing (" piche ka engine nikalenge phir doosra lagayenge aur phir gaadi chalegi") Very perceptive indeed.
  • 16.58 Shunter detached with dead loco.
  • 17.07 WAM4 20647 from BSL moves in to take charge.
  • 17.30 Newly installed starter on PF No.2 line turns yellow for Azad Hind. What has now become the Intermediate starter is still red.
  • 17.39 Much the same scene. Everyone wondering why intermediate is still red. Driver asked by control why not moving? Driver says signal not yellow. Control suddenly remembers something, intermediate signal turns yellow. Driver blasts horn, accelerates out of the platform.
  • Some people were saying that the driver may not have lowered panto in time at the diamond crossing and so the collector may have gotten stuck and broken.

    Others maintain it happenned afterwards. The driver himself was at pains to assure everyone it wasn't his fault. Whatever else it may have been, it was certainly an interesting time watching the proceedings at the site.


Material provided by Alok Patel, Copyright © 2004.