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Friday, December 4, 1998
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Track damage disrupts rail traffic
16 trains cancelled, 1 lakh passengers stranded
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 3 — Damage to the rail track between Ambala and New Delhi led to the cancellation of four express trains today while other trains, including the Shatabdis between Delhi-Amritsar and Delhi-Chandigarh, were delayed between seven and 10 hours.

Thousands of harassed commuters on board the trains went without food or water for several hours while their relatives, waitings for them at different stations north of Delhi, faced undue anxiety following lack of accurate communication from the Railways. Meanwhile over one lakh of passengers from Amritsar, Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Jammu, Pathankot, Chandigarh, Ambala, Karnal and Bathinda bound for various destinations were left stranded.

Besides the four trains cancelled today another 12 trains connecting the region with Delhi and beyond have been cancelled while a total of 38 trains between the damaged section have been diverted. The damage to the track between Ambala-Delhi was at nearly 70 places, sources in the Railways said.

The damage was caused as the wheels of the locomotive of a

train running between Tundla and Ludhiana, last night. The wheels of the train had some "depression" in them which disturbed their symmetry. This is called a "flat tyre problem" in technical terms. The wheels caused cracks in the track at several places, the sources confirmed. The driver of the train, Amarjeet Singh, who was responsible for checking the "flat tyres" has been suspended.

This has also raised doubts about the recent accident following the derailment of a few coaches at Khanna last week leading to the death of more than 200 passengers, according to the sources.

Meanwhile teams of the Delhi division of the Railways arrived at the spot in the afternoon and were checking the track. The cracks, termed as "fractures" by the Railways, are potentially dangerous for the operation of the trains. Each crack has to be welded.

The morning trains that started from Delhi were stopped enroute at places like Panipat, Karnal and Kurukshetra as engine drivers reportedly complained of a "clanging noise" form the tracks. As the Ambala-Delhi route has a double track. Only one track was used to facilitate the passage of trains.

Most of the express trains like the Shatabdi, running in excess of 100 kmph, were running at a speed less than 25 kmph. It was virtual "crawl" by the train, a woman passenger from Panchkula travelling on the Delhi-Chandigarh Shatabdi revealed. Nothing was served to the passengers barring the routine breakfast served around 8 a.m. the train reached Chandigarh around 4.15 p.m.

While children were crying for water some of the elders could be seen arranging for taxis, passengers said. Meanwhile, in Chandigarh, Dr M. Bala Krishnan complained that he went to receive his wife after checking up with the computerised enquiry. He was informed that the train was coming at 12.20 p.m. However, it did not reach till beyond 4 p.m., he said. The Railways could have diverted the train, he said.

The four trains — Shane-e-Punjab; Swaran Shatabdi; Shatabdi and the Flying Mail — cancelled today, run between Amritsar and Delhi. Besides this, all trains like the evening Shatabdi between Delhi and Chandigarh was diverted from Shamli-Saharanpur. The Intercity between Bathinda-Delhi was diverted from Meerut and Ghaziabad.

Meanwhile for tomorrow the Railways said some of the long distance trains will terminate at Delhi or go north of Delhi via alternate routes.

  The following is the list of trains that have been cancelled for December 4: Swaran Shatabadi-Amritsar-Delhi; Delhi-Amritsar; Himalayan Queen-Kalka-Delhi; Delhi-Kalka; Shane-e-Punjab- Amritsar-Delhi; Delhi-Amritsar; Shatabdi Express- Amritsar-Delhi; Delhi-Amritsar; Unchar Express- Ambala-Allahabad; Flying Mail-Amritsar-Delhi (the train will run onwards Delhi.); and the Ekta Express-Bhawani-Kalka; Kalka-Bhiwani.

Trains diverted via Saharanpur-Shamli are: Shatabdi Express-Kalka-Delhi; Delhi-Kalka; Shatabdi Express-Delhi-Chanidgarh; Chandigarh-Delhi; Amarpalli Express-Barauni-Amritsar; and the Himachal Express.

Trains diverted via Ludhiana-Dhuri-Jakhal are: The Malwa Express-Jammu-Indore; New Delhi-Amritsar Express; New Delhi-Bathinda Intercity (Dhuri-Jakhal); Pashchim Express-Amritsar-Mumbai; Sachkhand Express-Nanded-Amritsar; Amarpalli Express-Amritsar-Barauni; Dadar Express: Mumbai-Amritsar; Murre Express; Jammu Mail; Jhelum Express; Pooja Express. Swaraj Express (Jammu-Mumbai)

Trains diverted via Meerut-Ghaziabad are: Bathinda-New Delhi Intercity; and the Sachkhand Express: Nanded-Amritsar.back

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