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Vehicle falls on railway tracks from bridge under construction

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Commotion:A view of onlookers at the Pallavaram railway tracks, where an SUV fell on Thursday.
Commotion:A view of onlookers at the Pallavaram railway tracks, where an SUV fell on Thursday.

Special Correspondent

EMU services on Chennai Beach – Tambaram sector affected

TAMBARAM: EMU services on the Chennai Beach-Tambaram- Chengalpattu sector were affected on Thursday morning after an SUV (sports utility vehicle) fell from a bridge under construction on the tracks near the Pallavaram station. The driver, N. Diwakar (26) of Chintadripet, had a miraculous escape. He has been admitted to a private hospital in Pallikaranai and was said to be out of danger.

According to police, Diwakar was going to a private university on Dargah Road, Old Pallavaram, to get an application form for a relative.

He took the bridge, unaware that it was incomplete and there was a huge gap in the middle of the bridge.

Eye-witnesses, Southern Railway staff on duty at the railway station and gatemen told police and mediapersons that the vehicle jumped out of the bridge, hit the pillar under it and landed on the track near the Pallavaram station.

“There was a loud noise similar to an explosion. It took place at 10.55 a.m.,” they said. Gatemen on duty at the level crossing (LC No. 24) informed their control room and immediately message was sent to personnel on duty at the Pallavaram police station, Government Railway Police and Railway Protection Force stations and Firemen at Tambaram.

Meanwhile, residents and commuters at the railway station rushed to Diwakar's help.

Policemen said some private clinics refused to admit him and he was taken to Tambaram Taluk Government Hospital. After first aid, he was referred to the private hospital in Pallikaranai.

Firemen reached the spot 10 minutes later and began to remove the vehicle from the track. An earth-moving equipment was deployed and the severely damaged vehicle pulled out at 12.25 p.m.

Following the incident, the gates at the railway level-crossing could not be closed. Suburban EMU services were stopped at railway stations in either directions. Only after 12.30 p.m. the services resumed.

The State Highways Department and Southern Railway are jointly constructing the road overbridge to replace the level-crossing. It connects Old GST Road and Dargah Road. The State Highways' share is Rs.18 crore, while Southern Railway's is about Rs.5 crore. Work on the bridge commenced in 2003 and was to be completed in 2005. The work could not be completed as per the schedule due to delay in acquiring 5,800 square metres of land from the Ministry of Defence.

The Highways has completed its portion of the work. There, however, are no barricades at the entrance of the ramps on Old GST Road. Shopkeepers said the Highways officials tied ropes at the entrance earlier to prevent motorists from the using the bridge, but they were stolen by miscreants.

A Southern Railway engineer said they were constructing several bridges and subways along with the State Highways Department. While they were ahead in some projects, they lagged in others. They had completed the pillar work at the site and would be completing the superstructure for a length of 65 metres in a year.

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