Saji, a sweeper-cum-porter on duty at the Mukhasaparur railway station near Vriddachalam noticed flames and smoke emanating from the front axle of the 13th wagon of a freight train laden with rice on May 10.
The freight train from Vriddachalam was entering the loopline of the station to enable the crossing of the Salem-Vriddachalam DEMU passenger.
On noticing the flames, Saji immediately alerted the loco pilot by showing the “Hot Axle” signal. As soon as the loco pilot stopped the train in the berthing track, the pilot and guard of the train rushed to the wagon to put out the fire.
Meanwhile, Saji brought the fire extinguisher from the station and doused the fire, averting a major rail mishap and saved the rice consignment worth several lakhs of rupees.
Authorities at the station detached the wagon with the hot axle and sent the freight train to Chinna Salem after the crossing of Vriddachalam–Salem passenger.
General manager of SR, R K Kulshrestha, on Wednesday appreciated Saji and presented him a certificate of merit and cash award of Rs 2,000 in recognition of his exemplary dedication to duty. Chairman of railway board Ashwani Lohani had appreciated RPF constable Sivaji for saving a woman passenger who was molested by a stranger aboard a Beach-bound EMU from Velachery during the night time in April.