Written by Bella Dalima
05 Dec, 2013 | 9:32 pm
The General Manager of Railways has appointed a three-members committee to look into the incident where an engine travelled from the Maligawatte Railway Yard to Ratmalana without being operated by a driver.
General Manager of railways B.A.P. Ariyaratne noted that a great disaster was averted due to the actions taken by responding officials.
The Railway Control Room states that the Y class railway engine which was at the Maligawatte Railway Yard had begun moving at around 1.45 a.m. when its breaks had failed.
The Railways Department points out that although train engines are parked at railways yards the train engines are not shut down. The department notes that the engine in question was over fifty years old and was used to change the carriages of trains.
The engine in question had begun moving when both its driver and assistant had stepped out of it. Railways superintendent L.A.R. Rathnayake says that the engine had entered the main railway line from the railway yard and had proceeded down the coastal railway line to Ratmalana.
The engine had reportedly travelled at a speed of around 10kmph
The train that had passed railway stations in Maradana, Fort, Slave Island, Colpetty, Bambalapitiya, Wellawatte, Dehiwala and Mount Lavania was stopped by a team from the Colombo Railway running shed in a location between Mount Lavania and Ratmalana.
The engine in question is currently parked at the Ratmalana Railway Yard.
The Railways Department says that no damage was caused to either the train engine or the railway track.
Meanwhile, a three-member committee has begun investigations into the actions of the engine driver and his assistant and on how the train moved from its original location. General Manager of Railways B.A.P. Ariyaratne notes that the engine driver and his assistant will remain suspended until the conclusion of this inquiry.
Incidentally, shunting engine drivers and assistants staged a protest on Thursday at the Dematagoda Railway Yard. The demonstration was called off after talks with the railway officials.
The Railways General Manager states that the suspension issued to the driver and assistant connected to the incident will be withdrawn if the three-member committee that was appointed find them not guilty.
Meanwhile, the news of the phantom train was also brought up in Parliament on Thursday.
MP, Buddhika Pathirana stated, “a train engine had travelled almost 15km. I wish to raise a question on this incident although there is a question related to agriculture…”
Speaker, Chamal Rajapaksa replied to MP, Buddhika Pathirana, “ if you wish to question on the train engine, meet personally and raise it.”
Minister of Transport, Kumara Welgama said; “if you come to our village you can see the engine …”
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