The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Coalfield escapes crack-track calamity

Barakar, Nov. 17: The Howrah-bound Coalfield Express escaped derailment by half-an-hour as cracks were detected on the tracks at Barakar station this morning before the train hurtled over it.

Fortunately for the passengers, the personnel at the station on the Bengal-Jharkhand border were alert enough. The keyman of Barakar West cabin, Madan Mandal, reacted fast after detecting the fractured tracks.

Mandal came on his morning duty to check the tracks at 6 am and discovered the cracks 15 minutes later. The train was supposed to pass over the damaged track at 6.45.

“I rushed to the cabin and switched off the green signal for the Coalfield Express that was about to come on the main down track. The train had just left Kumardubi station. A major accident could have occurred if the crack was not detected on time,” said Mandal.

An Eastern Railway spokesman said the Express was kept waiting at Kumardubi till 7.28 am. It left for Howrah after the tracks were welded. A Howrah-bound special train for the festival season from Delhi was held up at Mugma station in Jharkhand from 6.57 am to 7.40.

Divisional railway manager of Asansol R.N. Lala, however, said fractures in tracks during this season were “nothing unusual”.

“Railway tracks can develop cracks any time, and especially in the morning, due to climatic conditions. The keymen are there to detect them,” he said.

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