Services on the Muri-Chandil section of South Eastern Railway’s (SER) Ranchi division remain disrupted since early Monday after a goods train derailed in Purulia of neighbouring Bengal during the 48-hour Maoist bandh in bordering districts of three states.
Senior railway officials have, however, ruled out rebel role in the mishap that triggered longer diversion of over half a dozen important trains, including a Rajdhani, and short-terminated a pair of passenger trains.
According to railway sources, a 32-wagon train carrying limestone from Mahegaon in Jabalpur to Tatanagar in Jamshedpur met with the accident between Suisa and Torang stations in Purulia district around 2.15am. Two engines and all the wagons jumped tracks at a speed of 60kmph. Although there were no casualties, several wagons overturned and overhead wires were also badly damaged. An inquiry has been ordered.
Soon after the mishap, movement of trains on the Muri-Chandil single line came to a grinding halt. Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, Howrah-Hatia Express, the New Delhi-Puri Neelanchal Express, Jammu Tawi-Tata Express, Tata-Jammu Tawi Express, Amritsar-Tata Jallianwallah Baug Express and Tata-Hatia Passenger had to travel on diverted routes.
The Barkakana-Tata Passenger was short-terminated at Muri. On its return journey, the train plied between Muri and Barkakana, which technically means that both up and down trains remain cancelled between Tatanagar and Muri.
A section of passengers created ruckus at Tatanagar station, when they came to know about the cancellation of Tata-Barkakana Passenger.
“I was supposed to travel to Muri with my family members to attend the wedding of my cousin, which is scheduled on April 19. After reaching the station, I came to know that the train has been cancelled. We are left with no options, but to rejig travel plans, as long-distance buses are off roads because of a Maoist bandh,” said Rakesh Tirkey, a resident of Sitaramdera.
Several passengers of Tata-Jammu Tawi Express and other trains, running on diverted routes, expressed their concerns over the expected four to five hour delay in their arrival schedules.
Soumitra Majumdar, chief public relations officer of SER, said it might take a day or two to restore normal services on this section. He also rubbished the possibility of a Maoist sabotage.
The banned outfit has called a 48-hour bandh in the bordering districts of Jharkhand, Bengal and Odisha, demanding a hike in prices of kendu leaves. The bandh, which began on April 15, will remain effective till Monday midnight.
“Initial investigations have revealed that there is no role of Maoists in the mishap. It is a simple case of derailment. A relief train from Hatia has reached the site and re-railing operations are being carried out. We are trying our best to restore normal traffic as early as possible. It may take one or two days,” Majumdar said.
Senior SER officials, including additional general manager Pramod Kumar, have reached the spot to take stock of the situation. So have Ranchi divisional railway manager (DRM) G. Mallya and additional DRM Sunil Kumar. General manager of SER A.K. Verma, who is in New Delhi, will visit the site on Tuesday.
Have the train diversions affected your plans?