CHENNAI: The adventurism of a bus driver put school students in danger on Friday morning when he ignored the caution lights at a level crossing and took the bus across the tracks. By then the gates had closed to allow trains to pass.
It was a harrowing experience for the students when the bus driver managed to squeeze past the first gate but failed to clear the second because the gate had closed by then. The bus was stuck on the tracks on which several trains including express trains were scheduled to pass minutes later.
The children had a narrow escape after the railway staff at the level crossing at Singaperumalkoil near Chennai quickly responded and opened the gates to let the bus through.
According to RPF sources, the students from Mamandur, Kancheepuram district were on their way to a theme park near Sriperumpudur by a tourist bus driven by Dhanasekar (40). When the bus reached the level crossing at Singaperumalkoil, he tried to rush through though the gates that were being lowered to shut the crossing.
Police said Dhanasekar managed to cross the first gate, but could not cross the second as it was closed by the time the bus reached there.
There was a clear danger for the children, as the track signal would change only after the gates were closed, indicating to the train drivers that the tracks were clear of traffic for movement of trains, sources said.
Realising the danger, the staff at the gate immediately opened it to allow the bus through, which in turn delayed an express train and several electric multiple units (EMUs) for about 15 minutes in the Tambaram-Chengalpattu section.
"We have booked the driver under section 154 of the Railway Act for endangering the safety of persons because of rash and negligent act," a RPF officer said, adding that the driver was later released on bail.