50% of coaches didn’t undergo maintenance, says loco staff

All India Loco Running Staff Association has alleged that railway coaches being used in Kerala were neglected and cited it as the reason for the recent accidents in Changanassery and Alappuzha.

All India president of the association L. Mony said on Thursday that nearly 50 per cent of the rail coaches deployed in Kerala did not undergo periodic maintenance. This situation, together with the poorly maintained 27-km railway stretch between Mavelikkara and Changanassery, was a potential recipe for disaster.

However, railway authorities in Kerala dismissed the allegation. A senior official said the allegations were not backed by any evidence. The official pointed out that safety measures are taken and pointed out that Railway Safety Commissioner regularly visits the State to take stock of the situation. He said another visit by the official was scheduled for December 14.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the Loco Staff alleged that the Mavelikkara-Changanassery stretch of the rail lines was “fatigued”. The statement also said that the post-monsoon reports pointed to “jerks experienced in many places by loco pilots who run the trains in these areas.”

The loco pilots also blamed the Railways for “thrusting” old coaches on Kerala, which led to accidents like the one in Alappuzha late last month.

The statement went on to claim that there were nine cases of such “jerks” experienced between Mavelikkara and Changanassery. Loco pilot M. J. Andrews, who reported this on November 10, was appreciated by the authorities for his alertness, said the statement from the railway staff.

Since no remedial action was taken on the report, the incident in Changanassery involving a coach of the Amrita Express (16344) on Wednesday could not be prevented, the statement added.

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