It is 2.58 pm on Monday. An Indian Railways (IR) controller, Kapil Dev, is focusing on one train — No. 22430, Pathankot-Delhi Superfast Express, which has just departed from Karnal station in Haryana.
The next half hour will be critical for Dev, located in New Delhi’s control room, as well as a group of track maintainers waiting on the outskirts of Panipat Junction. By the time the train reaches Panipat, it will have run past four lesser known stations — Bazida Jatan, Gharaunda, Kohand and Babarpur. The track maintainers have asked for what’s called a block in railways jargon, which means no other train will run on that stretch while the block is enforced for repair.
At the control room, Dev has a quick telephonic conversation with the Panipat station master even as he takes a close look at his colour-coded dashboard showing movement of trains — freight, passenger, express — before granting a 15-minute block near Panipat. Read More
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