Senior Central Railway officials have called the Thane incident on Friday afternoon – when smoke billowed out of a parked local train – as ‘very disturbing’ since initial investigations have ruled out ‘any kind of miscreant activity’, railway lingo for the fire having started out of some outsider mischief.
Speaking to dna, a senior CR official said that in the absence of miscreant activity, the blame would go on poor maintenance or worst some technical flaw, something officials fear far more than anything else, especially in a busy system where trains run every three to four minutes, with two to four times the prescribed commuter load.
The train is an old Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL) rake.
“The motor coach is the heart of a train. If it just goes up in smoke this way then there is something seriously wrong. Imagine if this happened while the train was in motion,” explained an official.
CR divisional railway manager Mukesh Nigam refused to comment apart from saying that an inquiry had been ordered. “We will get to know only after the inquiry,” said Nigam.
The last time the CR officials were this worried was when the coach of a CST-bound train coming from Andheri burst into flames at Dockyard station on December 4, 2012. The incident had injured 11 people, several of them seriously.
What initially looked like a case of the brake of the train getting jammed turned far more serious with officials believing a serious technical flaw in the motor coach of the train caused it to overheat.
Scores of rail commuters were inconvenienced on Friday evening after the CR had to divert trains between Mulund and Thane from slow track to the fast line because of the fire in the motor coach of a local train stabled at Thane yard.
Trains had to be diverted as a precautionary measure since trains moving on the slow down track would have been fairly close to the mishap-hit train.