Broken railway track at Charbagh Railway station
Lucknow : A series of recent train accidents and derailments has led to fear and scepticism towards train travel among people. With reports of faults in tracks causing these mishaps, our reporter did a reality check at Charbagh railway station, only to find overused tracks and delay in repair work.
The derailment of Kalinga Utkal Express happened due to dilapidated tracks in Khatauli, Muzaffarnagar. At Charbagh, it found around 200 meters of tracks at platform numbers 5 and 6 in a similar condition.
The wooden planks laid to absorb vibrations generated during the movement of trains were dislocated and some even broken. At some places, the nuts and bolts were loose.
A contract to replace these 20-year-old wooden planks with washable ones was awarded in January. The deadline was 50 days. However, even after eight months, nothing has been done.
According to senior railway officer of NER LJN, a track should be changed every 10-12 years or earlier, according to its usage. A broad gauge single railway track has to be used only to carry 150 gross million tonne traffic. The weight of a full single train with 20 coaches is around 1,000 tonne. This means a track is designed to take the weight of around 15,000 trains.
Senior divisional commercial manager, Northern Railway, Lucknow Division, Shivendra Shukla said, "The usage of tracks of NR Lucknow division is over 200% at present. More than 5,000km of tracks are more than 10 years old. The division is planning safety measures, replacements and repairs." He added, "For repair and replacement of tracks, we need to stop traffic on them for some time. However, the tracks could not be spared because of the rush season.Work will start soon."
According to DRM/LJN/NER Alok Singh, around 70km of tracks between Gonda and Burhwal have been changed to new, whereas work on remaining 25km is underway. The division is focusing on safety measures, he added.
Until that time, however, it's passengers who will be in constant fear after derailments and accidents.
"Tracks at platform 5 are in a deplorable condition.Whenever I board a train, I pray to god for safety," said Aishwarya Juneja.
Prateek Kumar, a passenger, said, "Railways should carry out repair and maintenance work on priority. Why should we feel scared before boarding a train?"
Source : TOI