S. Manohar, the motorman who brought a Chennai-bound suburban service to a halt seconds before he suffered a fatal heart attack and averted a potentially disastrous mishap on May 23, has been nominated for a Railway Board award.
The 48-year-old motorman, in a heroic act, had stopped the train GM 42032 within a few minutes of leaving Gummidipoondi, disengaged cabin controls and switched on the emergency flasher light before falling unconscious. Though the motorman was taken to the Perambur Railway Hospital later in the evening he did not survive the attack.
Manohar’s duty consciousness and ultimate commitment to the safety of passengers has been highlighted in a Southern Railway note to the Railway Board recommending him for a posthumous award, an official said. The nomination of Manohar for an award is over and above the compensation that is being worked out for his next of kin.
Railway administrators and workers have already hailed Manohar as a hero. A signboard put up as a tribute at the entrance to the Moore Market Complex, the hub of suburban services, describes him as a “hero who performed his duty even till his last breath”.
Southern Railway has also recommended an award to loco pilot V. Balachandran who had stopped his train (the GM 42029 Chennai-Gummudipoondi) on the adjacent line on noticing the flasher light on the other train.
Mr. Balachandran had entrusted his train with the guard before alerting the station master at the next station Kavaraipettai of the emergency. He then drove the train with Manohar in an unconscious state to Kavaraipettai. There, he helped make arrangements for transporting his co-worker to a hospital before walking back along the tracks for about four kms to resume duty on his train.
The previous occasion when railwaymen in Southern Railway were honoured by the Railway Board was in 2010 when four employees were given cash awards (Rs. 5,000 each) for averting a major disaster after a bomb blast damaged the track section at Sithani between Perani and Mundiyambakkam stations in Villupuram. The reward was announced for alertness, sense of responsibility and devotion to duty.