VELLORE: Railway officials at the Arakkonam yard are faced with a problem that can only be described as unusual - stabled EMU coaches going astray. Even more peculiar is the solution that they have adopted to fix this issue - chaining the bogies to the tracks.
They have been doing this ever since an incident on July 10 when a nine-car EMU stationed at the seventh stable line of the yard began moving on its own and even managed to enter the Arakkonam-Thiruvallur fourth line before getting derailed. What’s worse, the incident occured during the time of the day when trains from Bangaluru, Mettupalayam, Coimbatore, Erode and Mysuru were passing through Arakkonam to reach Chennai Central. Fortunately, there were no mishaps as none of those trains was plying on the fourth line.
A departmental inquiry following the incident found that the coaches were indeed moving on their own due to natural gradient on the track between Arakkonam and Mosur stations.
Taking no chances with the automatically moving EMU coaches, the divisional railway decided to chain the wheels of the bogies to ensure that they stayed where they have been stationed.
A senior official of the Chennai Railway Division insisted that such practices were followed in accordance with the guidelines issued by the safety commissioner. “Chaining the wheels has proved to be a fool-proof way of ensuring that the coaches don’t start moving on their own, wherever there is natural gradient on the tracks,” he said.
Until a few years ago, the EMU coaches were manufactured with ‘stabling brakes’ that brought the trains to a halt at their stabling points. But due to technical snags, they were later removed.
Acknowledging the dangers posed, officials said new stable lines were being developed to keep coaches going astray.