The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jinx lurks on the path of Rajdhani

Burdwan, Sept. 11: The Sealdah-bound Rajdhani Express today smashed into an inspection trolley near Nabagram about 40 kilometres from here and was delayed for three hours before resuming its run to Calcutta.

Though no one was injured in the accident early this afternoon, the Eastern Railway authorities suspended a line inspector for dereliction of duty.

Coming close on the heels of the Rafiganj mishap, the incident created a flutter among the railwaymen as well as relatives of the passengers on board the train. In fact, while the Rajdhani was having trouble, the special train carrying the bodies of 18 victims of the Rafiganj crash had pulled into Burdwan station.

Around 12.50 pm, the speeding Rajdhani, which had received the signal for a clear track ahead, smashed into the push-trolley a few kilometres before Nabagram station on the Burdwan-Howrah chord line. Four men on board the trolley managed to jump to safety before impact.

The collision crumpled the cowcatcher of the Rajdhani’s engine, which ground to a halt immediately. Railwaymen on duty at Jaugram station, before Nabagram, brought a diesel engine and towed the train backwards to Jaugram.

After an assessment of the damage caused to the locomotive, the Rajdhani finally set off for its destination, pulled by another diesel engine, at 3.50 pm.

A senior railway official here said it was unusual that a push-trolley would be on the tracks when an express train had been given the signal to proceed through the section. “A contractor was working in that area and we have preliminary information that he had asked for an inspection without getting clearance,” the official said. With news of the mishap coming in, there were anxious moments among the railwaymen.

A superintending engineer of the state electricity board, Nirmal Banerjee, called up colleague Pradip Das here to rush to the spot and ascertain the damage. Banerjee’s son-in-law, Sanjoy Banerjee, a physician, was supposed to be on board.

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