The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Control room blunders stall trains

Last week, continuous rain dislocated all railway movement at Howrah. The replay on Tuesday, for about two hours, was blamed on the “inefficiency” of officials at the control room at Howrah.

Streams of people had to walk down the tracks from the carshed to reach the station.

“The morning peak hour saw the disruption dawn, following an illogical decision on the part of the officers controlling the movement of trains to and from Howrah,” said an Eastern Railway spokesperson. He clarified: “The newly-installed, Rs 3-crore signalling system has nothing to do with the problem.”

The cascading effect of three erroneous decisions left trains stranded for about an hour in the carshed area, close to Chandmari bridge, according to railway sources. They said the control room staff ignored priority to run suburban passenger trains on time.

The first wrong decision was to bring in two empty rakes to Howrah station from the Jhil siding. That temporarily blocked several tracks that could otherwise have been used by incoming or outgoing passenger trains.

The second error was committed when the control room decided to send back four EMU rakes to the carshed to clear the platforms. The manoeuvre disrupted the movement of regular suburban trains to and from the station for want of clear tracks.

In the third blunder, an empty rake of the Amritsar Mail was taken to Howrah by denying signals to the suburban trains.

“It requires six time-consuming operations to take an empty rake of a long-distance train out of Howrah station,” pointed out a senior railway official.

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