KOLKATA: The driver of a local train fell so sick while at the wheel today that he fainted and fell right off the train. Fortunately for passengers, the train automatically came to a halt as the driver had taken his hand off the “dead man’s switch” – the automatic switch that gets triggered if the operator becomes incapacitated.
The incident occurred near a station called Dainhat in West Bengal, about 130 km from Kolkata. The ‘Up Katwa Local’ was ferrying passengers from Howrah station to Katwa town in Burdwan district.
Around noon, eyewitnesses suddenly saw the driver fall off the train which came to a halt.
The train was about to change tracks when the incident happened.
Mr I Haldar, the train driver now in hospital, told authorities he suddenly felt very sick and became unconscious. He received some serious head injuries due to the fall, according to Mr R Mahapatra, chief public relations officer, Eastern Railways.
A huge crowd gathered at the spot. The train’s guard rushed to the driver and ensured he was immediately taken to hospital. A new driver and guard were called in at once and the train left with the passengers at 12.46 pm.
Two other trains were delayed because of the incidence.
The railways will examine Mr Haldar for health conditions. According to Mr Mahapatra, he was fine when he boarded the train at Howrah.
This is not the first such incident. In July, the ‘Up Sonarpur Local’ rammed into a platform guard-wall at Sealdah station in Kolkata. Medical tests indicated the driver was suffering from work-related stress.