A Classic Indian Railway Scene: Train, Track, Gangman

The 16341 Guruvayur – Trivandrum “Intercity” express rolls up the gradient to rush through Sasthamkotta railway station in Kerala one sunny morning. The photo was taken from the Parasuram express that had stopped on Platform 2. A gangman who walks along the track checking it for faults can be seen standing on the tracks. Gangmen are the unseen and unsung heroes of the Indian Railway system, its very foundation link that keep the network up and running.

If you look closely you can see that the track dips and comes back up in the distance. This is called a gradient. All railway tracks in Kerala though they seem straight and level, are not. They go up and down like rollercoaster tracks. This is one of the main reasons why track speeds are difficult to be increased in Kerala. The maximum permissible speed (MPS) for that particular section of track is 70 kph because of this gradient.

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