Loco pilot halts train noticing fire in coach, averts big mishap
CHENNAI: A swift intervention of a duty loco pilot averted a major train mishap and saved the lives of thousands of passengers here on Thursday. Loco pilot N Jayaprakash spotted smoke puffing out from under the fifth coach of the engine when Barauni – Ernakulam Raptisagar Express (train no 12521) was running between Tiruvalangadu and Arakkonam around 11.45 am Thursday.
According to sources from railways, the loco pilot spotted smoke and fire when the train was passing a curve. He immediately stopped the train and conducted a physical examination which confirmed fire under the coach, possibly due to a hot-axle (Overheating of the braking system and the axle of the wheel).
Video of the accident, which is verified by the DT Next, showed the loco pilot dousing the fire using an extinguisher available in the loco. Based on instructions from the operation department, the train was moved to Arakkonam, where the coach was detached.
A railway officer familiar with the train operations said the train which left Chennai Central for Madurai was an express clocking over 100kmph. Though the possibility of it escalating into a fire accident was not minimal in the case, the fire could have weekend the wheel and axles and possibly cause a derailment, resulting in an accident that could affect passengers aboard a jam-packed train if the fire went unnoticed, said a railway officer on condition of anonymity.
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