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The heavy and continuous rainfall is making life miserable for everyone, especially those whose offices are located in neighbouring districts and who depend on trains to travel there. As if delayed running time was not enough, the increase in the water level in the Meenachil in Kottayam has forced the railways to cancel several passenger trains along the route. This has been done to facilitate the transit of express and superfast long-distance trains, which are already running behind schedule.
A railway officer said the water in the Meenachil was just shy of the danger mark. “Hence, we are taking every precaution. Besides cancelling some of the trains along the route, we have also imposed speed restrictions. Trains are being driven at a speed of 20 km/hour to negate the possibility of derailment,” said the officer.
All the trains were running very late, he said. “Each train is running late by more than an hour. Until Tuesday, the Railways had identified four bridges that were on the verge of getting flooded. By Wednesday, the number reduced to three,” said the officer.
He assured passengers there was no need to worry as all the bridges were stable and the officers were monitoring the water levels at the bridges and checking the condition of the tracks round the clock.
The railway bridges across the rivers have various markings to indicate the permissible and danger water levels.
“If the water level crosses the red mark — meaning danger — all traffic will be stopped immediately. The services will be allowed to resume only after the water recedes to the desired level,” the officer said.
As of now, the water level under the three bridges under the Ettumanoor-Kottayam route has not touched the danger level.
Since speed restriction has been implemented, trains will run late until an ‘all-ok’ sign is flashed.
“The situation is not man-made, but the end result of a natural calamity. The Railways is doing everything possible to ensure the services are not greatly affected. To allow smooth transit of express and superfast long distance trains, Railways was forced to cancel the some passenger services along the Kottayam route. We regret the inconvenience,” said the officer.
Though the Railways had incurred some financial loss due to the late running and cancellation of trains along the route, it was marginal, said the officer. “The goods traffic, which less along the route, has not been affected,” he said.
This article first appeared on www.newindianexpress.com
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