Five elephants have reportedly died when Guwahati – Silchar Fast passenger dashed against a herd of elephant between stations Hawaipur and Lamshakhan under Lumding Division of NF Railway in Assam. The engine got derailed by its front trolly as a result of which the train with all passengers got detained at the location.
Divisional Railway Manager along with senior officials of Lumding Division reached the site along with Accident Relief Train (ART) from Lumding after which efforts were started for rerailing the locomotive. The section was ultimately restored at 02.37 am (11.02.2018) when the train left the site after the engine was rerailed.
It is to be mentioned here that the incident took place at a location where there was no notified elephant corridor. However based on inputs received from forest department a speed restriction of 30kmph had been imposed and all trains were instructed to slow down while passing by issuing caution order to the loco pilots.
While prima facie Enquiry has released that the train was within its stipulated speed, a departmental Enquiry has been ordered to find out details about adherence to protocols.
There has been a manifold increase in the incidents of elephant crossings during the recent past and trains are constantly slowed down whenever any information of herd movement is shared with the railway by the forest department.
It is only because of the close coordination between field level officials of both the forest and railway department that as many as 200 imminent dashing have been prevented this year alone. However the incidents have to be seen in the light of recent spurt of man – animal conflicts. NF Railway has to ensure the safety of all train movements and at the same time it is ready to do all the needful for mitigating elephant mortality on railway tracks.