India: Alert 10-Year-Old Averts Major Accident

NEW DELHI, Jan. 16 -- An alert 10-year-old boy helped avert a major train accident on Sunday morning by immediately informing railway staff after he spotted a fracture in the tracks.

The incident took place in east Delhi's Mandawali area at 7.20 on Sunday morning and the Patna-Delhi Rajdhani Express was minutes away from the fractured tracks.

The boy is a rag picker and was collecting water bottles thrown by train passengers when he noticed the fracture in the railway tracks. The boy, Deepak Kumar, lives with his parents and siblings in the Saket block in Mandawali area in east Delhi.

"I was collecting bottles when I went close to the railway tracks and saw the cracks. There was a gap in the track due to the cracks. I thought it could result in a major train accident and immediately ran towards the signal box and informed the signalman patrolling near the tracks," Kumar said.

Surender Singh, who is employed as a private ticket booking clerk at the Mandawali railways station, said, "The signalman, Budhraj, gave the boy a red cloth and told him to wave the cloth in the air near the railway tracks. This was done to give an emergency signal to the Patna-Delhi Rajdhani Express, which was about to come on the same track."

"The driver of the Rajdhani Express saw the boy's emergency signal and immediately stopped the train. The boy told him about the fracture in the tracks and took him to the spot. In the meantime, signalman Budhraj had informed senior railway officers about the matter and a technical team from the railway department arrived there to inspect the damaged track soon after. After that train movement on that particular track was stopped and repair work started," said Singh.

The Patna-Delhi Rajdhani train, meanwhile, was diverted on some other tracks and it left for its destination after a delay of over half an hour.

The fracture in the tracks was repaired by late afternoon and movement of trains started again, he said.

But instead of lauding the alertness of the boy that helped save many lives, SK Sharma, chief public relations officer (CPRO), Northern railways, said, "Track fractures happen in winters due to change in temperature. Since all the tracks are circuited, there is no question that we won't get to know about it. Whenever there is a track fracture, there would not be any signal and without that drivers can not drive the trains." Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times. For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at htsyndication@hindustantimes.com

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