Railways test efficacy of disaster management plan


The ‘derailment’ of an express train with 15 passengers ‘trapped’ in two ‘capsized’ bogies at Ashokapuram railway station in Mysuru was part of a safety drill carried out by the Mysuru division of South Western Railway along with a team of personnel from National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

Soon after receiving a message around 9.56 a.m. on September 21 that the Tirupati-Chamarajanagar Express had ‘derailed’, railway officials rushed to the ‘accident site’ to carry out relief and rescue operations as per the standard protocol. An NDRF team comprising 20 personnel, led by Inspector General Harish Chandra Pandey, too reached the site. Personnel from the Fire and Emergency Services, doctors and nurses from the railway hospital too arrived at the spot to assist in the operation to rescue the 15 passengers ‘trapped’ in the ‘capsized’ coaches.

The ‘rescue operation’ lasted about 70 minutes. The drill was carried out to test the efficacy of the Disaster Management Plan that included a range of activities enabling personnel from different departments of the railways to practice safety-related measures during an emergency.

Rahul Agarwal, Divisional Railway Manager, South Western Railway, Mysuru, oversaw the ‘rescue operation’ along with other senior officials. Explaining the significance of such drills, he feels they would go a long way in improving preparedness of railways to deal with, as well as prevent, disasters due to human error.


“Minimising the impact, be it loss of precious human lives or damage to infrastructure is of paramount importance. Preventive measures are assigned the highest priority during such drills to mitigate suffering,” he said.

Adequate maintenance of all equipment, including those in Accident Relief Trains, will be carried out as laid down in the rules to ensure operational readiness at all times.

“Mysuru division is equipped with all necessary relief requirement, like a Self-Propelled Accident Relief Train (SPART), locomotive hauled accident relief trains, a 140-tonne crane, medical relief train with trained personnel, including doctors and paramedical staff to provide immediate aid to the injured. These can be moved to accident sites quickly,” he added.


Personnel from Railway Protection Force (RPF), Government Railway Police and civil police force also took part in the exercise.

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Sagar Biswas

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