Mangaluru, Nov 29, 2017: It has come to light that a group students travelling to Kerala from Mangaluru by train pulled the alarm chain in their coach and this not only delayed their train, but also all other trains along the route.
Of late, Alarm Chain Pulling (ACP) by pranksters and false cases is posing a problem for Southern Railway officials in Palakkad division. This year, 141 cases were reported between Mangaluru Junction and Palakkad station. Of these, 25 cases were not genuine. "The reasons are trivial like footwear, wallet or money falling out of the running train or plain curiosity. Only a few cases were genuine. The ACP not only delays the train movement but has a cascading effect on other services," said a security official. "While some offenders paid the fine on the spot, others were sent to jail for not paying the fine to the railway magistrate. Five cases are under trial."
While false cases include boarding wrong train, ignorance and pranks, there’s also emergency chain pulling by organised crime gangs and robbers. "However, if it’s not a genuine case, Indian Railways takes such incidents very seriously. Cases against offenders are booked under Section 141 of the Railways Act, and a fine of Rs 1,000 or/and imprisonment can be imposed," says a retired railway official. There are instances of chain-snatchers pulling the chain and escaping. "Genuine cases include fights, health emergencies, fire or when compartments get overcrowded."
The official explains that ACP results in lot of inconvenience to the railways. The guard or train in-charge has to identify the bogie and take stock of the situation. He has to manually restore it. The entire operation takes about 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, it delays other trains, especially superfast trains, on those routes as they’re monitored strictly for punctuality.
"Sometimes, it’s difficult to restore if ACP happens on steep curves, ghat sections and forests or during rain or at night. It’s a major problem if ACP is activated on bridges as the guard cannot reach the bogie," he added.