Despite according top priority to the newly launched rail link to Katra it appears the field engineers remained casual when it came to addressing the basic requirements of a VIP train ferrying pilgrims to the base camp of holy cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi.
On Wednesday when Shri Shakti Express was stuck inside tunnel no 27 the railway engineers realised their folly of not attaching a ‘banker’ engine to power the fully AC train on the hilly track.
A banker engine is traditionally attached with the train on hilly track to power the train.
Inside reports have now revealed if Shri Shakti Express had been attached with ‘banker’ engine the railway authorities would have not faced the embarrassing situation and pilgrims would not have faced hardships on the second day of the launch of services.
Though the railway engineers have been directed to prepare a comprehensive report but apparently it appears the steep gradient of 1/100 along the track required a banker engine and in the absence of same the driver could not power the superfast train with adequate power.
According to official sources, efforts made by the driver and other members of the technical staff and support group also failed to power the rail compartments out of the tunnel in the absence of ‘banker engine’.
It may be mentioned that the fully air conditioned super fast train Shri Shakti Express from New Delhi to Katra was on its second run when the incident took place about five kms before the station in the wee hours of wednesday.