The trainset, used for the inaugural Vande Bharat Express run, was reported as being stranded near Tundla. Vande Bharat Express was flagged off by the Prime Minister at a ceremony yesterday, 15th February, 2019. It completed the journey to Varanasi without a hitch.
IR officials were displeased with the sensationalist tone of the reports. The General Manager of Integral Coach Factory, manufacturers of the much-talked about Train-18 rake in question, took to Twitter to clarify:
Sources from IR claim that the trainset hit an unknown number of cattle, resulting in damage to some equipment. The incident, commonly referred to as CRO (Cattle Run Over) in railway parlance, occurred early this morning when the trainset was on its way back from Varanasi to Delhi. No passengers were onboard.
Other reports suggest that the train was stranded because of because of brake binding and non-functioning coaches, and could only be run at restricted speeds. The root cause of the issue was not specified.
Commercial runs are scheduled to begin from tomorrow, February 17, 2019. The trainset will be fixed today at its maintenance shed in Delhii’s Shakurbasti. It will be fit for tomorrow’s service, according to sources in IR.
What are Cattle Run Overs?
CROs are common all over IR, including on high speed routes. Several occur every month and largely go unreported. This is especially true when the damage caused to a train is insignificant and it moves on after a small delay.
Such incidents occur when cattle stray onto the track, in the path of a train, and get run over. Impact at high speed can severely damage brake pipes and other equipment fitted on the undercarriage of a train. The loco crew is then faced with the gory task of extricating animal remains from the undercarriage of the locomotive, and inspecting for damage.
Because these systems are designed to fail in a safe manner, damage often results in brakes locking up in applied position until the repairs are complete and the loco can again operate safely. However, in several instances, damage to such equipment cannot be fixed on-site.
A relief loco is then sent to the spot to tow the train and dead loco and continue the trip. Though often delayed by a couple of hours, the train reaches its destination without risk to passengers.