NEW DELHI: The sight of a car or even a bus being pushed is not uncommon on the streets of India. But what about a 1,000-tonne passenger train being moved in a similar manner. This is what happened in Barmer, Rajasthan, on Tuesday morning when coaches of a passenger train were moved back from the washing line, with railway employees putting their might to move the giant on the track.
Predictably, the video of the ‘heroic effort’ went viral on social media. The Railways was clearly the butt of jokes but officials turned the incident into a PR exercise of sorts, asserting that the job had to be done manually to avoid delays and cause minimum inconvenience to passengers.
The Barmer-Kalka Express, departing at 6.45 am, was being moved from the washing line to the railway platform when the shunting engine failed midway. “It came to halt at a point where there was no scope to replace the engine with another. The railway staff at this point trooped in to manually push the coaches one by one after they were decoupled,” said Tarun Jain, CPRO of North Western Railway.
Wasn’t it a Herculean effort? “In the case of railroad tracks, the friction tends to be less compared to other moving objects given their smooth nature and the wheel surface. A little push can move a coach,” Tarun said, adding, the manual pushing was undertaken for about 30-40 metres. The train was finally brought to the station and left about two-and-a-half-hours behind schedule, but not before the episode became the talk of the town. The Railways reportedly hasn’t been witness to such incidents earlier, though there have been recorded cases when stationary trains had started rolling due to technical faults.