It was a narrow escape for close to 600 passengers travelling on train number 56242 between Yeshwantpur and Salem as the heroic efforts of two railway employees averted a possible disaster.
On Tuesday, Gangmate S Murugan and trolley man M Velu of Gang number 5 in Dharmapuri completed work at 5 pm. However, due to torrential rainfall in the section, they decided to patrol the tracks passing through the ghat section on foot.
According to the Meteorological Department, Dharmapuri received 88.9 mm this week, 98 per cent more than the average rainfall. As they neared the bridges in the Shivadi-Thoppur ghat section at 8 pm, the duo noticed water flowing above the tracks in one section of the tracks near kilometre 44/100-000.
Realising the danger to oncoming trains, Murugan and Velu immediately rushed towards the nearest station to halt the incoming Yeshwantpur-Salem passenger train.
Muttampatti halt is located around 2 km from the location of the breach. Reaching this place after a punishing run, Murugan and Velu managed to halt the train at Muttampatti station.
Railway officials on Wednesday said they found that 20 metres of the track had been washed away at the spot of the breach.
Murugan and Velu were praised for their timely efforts and were awarded a cash prize of `5,000 each by A K Mital, general manager of South Western Railway.
The breached track was subsequently replaced at 3 am on Wednesday and operations were resumed, an official said.