Uttaranchal: An alert train driver saved six elephants from being hit on Saturday in the Rajaji National Park.
The elephants were crossing the railway track near Kansrao section of the park, when the the watchful driver noticed them, said officials.
The goods train was on its way to Haridwar from Dehradun. After reaching the Kansrao section at about 6 pm, the driver pressed on the emergency brake after spotting the elephants less than 60 meters ahead.
The 18 km stretch of the railway track in Rajaji has witnessed several fatal accidents in the past. Between 1987 and 2002, 20 elephants have died on this stretch.
According to Anil Singh, Sr. Field Officer of Wildlife Trust of India, “had it not been the alert driver who stoped the train, this could have been one of the worst wildlife disaster in recent times.”
Haridwar, Motichur and Kansrao railway sections are prone to accidents due to a number of sharp bends on the railway track. Low visibility from dusk to dawn increases the risk.
Railway and forest officials have been working jointly with WTI for past several years to prevent fatal accidents of wildlife in train hits in Rajaji National Park. Since 2002, the joint patrolling by the forest and railway departments in Rajaji has helped to alert train drivers of animal sighting on railway tracks, resulting in the reduction of casualties.
There have been no rail accidents since past 5 years in the Rajaji National Park. Thanks to the close cooperation between Forest and the Railway departments forged by WTI.