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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Stretch for token turns fatal for train driver

Malda, Dec. 9: Utpal Chatterjee, the assistant driver of the Sealdah-bound Haatey-Bazare Express, died after he fell from the engine cabin, trying to reach out for his departure token at New Farakka Station yesterday.

Additional divisional railway manager Hemanta Kumar said the accident occurred when Chatterjee stretched for his token from the cabin as the train was pulling out of the platform. “He must have slipped. A probe has been ordered to look into other possibilities,” Kumar said.

Station officials took a bleeding Chatterjee to the Farakka NTPC hospital from where he was referred to Malda hospital. However, he died on the way.

Train services on the down-line were disrupted for more than an hour after the incident as there was no driver available for the Haatey-Bazare express.

Kamala Kanta Toppo and P.C Singha were later called in from Malda to take over for the rest of the journey.

“I was driving and had asked Utpal to collect the departure token from the station cabin. I did not see him after that,” said Ujjwal Kumar Bhagat.

An anxious Bhagat contacted the cabin guard at the station. The train was brought to a halt and a search team went looking for Chatterjee.

“Within minutes, we spotted him lying senseless, a few feet from the cabin from where he had collected the token,” a member of the search party said.

According to the drivers, the mishap occurred due to the new engine model of the train.

“It is our duty to collect the token from the cabin adjoining the station as the train leaves. For this, the person has to lean out of the moving train, holding on to a handle. The engines of Haatey-Bazare Express, however, do not have any railing or handle for safety,” they alleged.

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