Collisions On Track: Vande Bharat Vs Cows; The New Challenge For Indian Railways

The recently launched Gandhinagar-Mumbai bound semi-high speed Vande Bharat express had rammed into a herd of buffalo and cow in following days.

Vande Bharat Express

Are the Cows and Buffalos becoming the hindrance in the path of modernisation of technology in India? No, this is not a title of an academic conference. The consecutive incidents of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project Vande Bharat’s collisions with the cattle perhaps have made it a point of contemplation.

Just a day after it got its nose repaired, the newly-launched Mumbai Central-Gandhinagar Vande Bharat Express again hit a cow yesterday near Anand in Gujarat while on its way to Mumbai. The incident took place at 3.49 pm between Kanjari and Anand stations, about 433 km from Mumbai. As per the Chief Public Relation officer of eastern Railway Sumit Thakur no passenger was harmed. The train resumed its journey after a halt of ten minutes.

As per the reports the front portion of the train has suffered a small dent.

Cattle V/s Vande Bharat: FIR launched Against Unidentified Owner

This is not the first incident of such cattle versus Vande Bharat. On Thursday it had hit a herd of buffaloes on its way to Gandhinagar. The train got injuries at its nose that was repaired immediately.

Western Railway Spokesperson Jitnedra Kumar Jaynat said, “The Vande Bharat express running between Mumbai Central and Gandhinagar Capital stations had left Mumbai this morning. The front portion of the train's engine got damaged after it hit some buffaloes that came on track around 11.15 am. The incident took place between Vatva and Maninagar areas of Ahmedabad.”

In this case as well, there was no harm and within 8 minutes of removing the carcasses of the buffalo the train resumed its journey. On the probable actions to be taken by the railways Thakur said that they will create fencing in Gandhinagar-Ahmedabad area to avoid such circumstances. By March, 2024 the fencing works will be done ensuring the speed of 160 kmph.

Interestingly, an FIR has also been launched by the Western railway against the unidentified owner of the buffalos. “The RPF has lodged a first information report (FIR) against the unidentified owners of the buffaloes that came in the way of Vande Bharat train between Vatva and Maninagar railway stations in Ahmedabad,” Jitendra Jayant said.

The FIR was registered under section 147 of the Railways Act, 1987 that prohibits the unauthorised entry into any part of the railway premises and misuse of it. Police is yet to identify the owner of the buffalos.

Unavoidable Accidents

As the collision with the cattle in the track is seemingly unavoidable, the design of semi high speed Vande Bharat train took into consideration all the possibilities. The nose cone is made to avoid any harm in the internal organ of the engine. Railway keeps several replaceable nose cones ready for emergency.

In the context of such consecutive accidents the Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said, “The train has been designed in such a way and it is so strong that if there is an accident, nothing will happen to the train. Its nose on the front is totally replaceable. As soon as the train reached Mumbai (after the incident on Thursday), it was completely cleaned up and its nose replaced.”

Referring to the inevitability of accident the Minister added, “In India, the tracks are laid on the ground. Wherever you go, cattle will cross them, one cannot stop them. Unless we elevate the tracks in another 5-6 years, they (cattle) will come in front of the trains.”

He also promised that the next version of Vande Bharat will have a speed of 200 kmph. The recent version runs at 160 kmph.

What is Vande Bharat Express?

To keep the pace with the rest of the developed world Vande Bharat Express was thought of as a semi-high-speed career that will cover major distance in a little time. The fist train of Vande Bharat series was launched in 2019 in New Delhi-Varanasi route. The second one is in Delhi-Katra route.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his recent Gujarat visit flagged off the third in the series in Gandhinagar -Mumbai route on September 30. Modi himself travelled 40 kms on the train.

The train is designed to contribute to Indian Railway’s green footprint removing the power cars and saving about 30% electricity with advanced regenerative braking system. The Air Conditions of the train also energy efficient and saves 15% energy consumption.

The indigenously designed trainset (Train-18) has undergone a lot of upgradations in its latest Vande Bharat 2.0 version. In the new version, rotating seats in executive chair car coaches, automatic sliding doors, improved communication between guard and loco pilots, aeroplane-like vacuum toilets, improved interiors and reclining seats are some of the major upgrades

(With Agency Inputs)