The derailed engine and coaches of the Calcutta-Haldibari Intercity Express in Birbhum’s Nalhati on Tuesday. Picture by Snehamoy Chakraborty
Nalhati, May 14: Two passengers were injured when three compartments and the engine of the Calcutta-Haldibari Intercity Express got derailed about 7km from Nalhati station in Birbhum this afternoon.
Several pandrol clips were found beside the tracks along with two hammers with long handles. The clips are used to fasten tracks to railway sleepers. A railway official said a probe would look into chances of “sabotage”.
Birbhum has several pockets that were once Maoist strongholds, including Nalhati.
The two drivers of the train said that when the train was between Nalhati and Chatra, they saw six or seven men, who were standing on the tracks, running away.
“The train was running at about 90kmph. We saw six or seven men standing on the tracks. They ran away when they saw the train approaching. The men were not wearing the orange-coloured fluorescent jackets that gangmen and trackmen wear while working on the tracks. We did not have any information about any work on the tracks,” said Shiv Shankar Yadav, one of the drivers.
The other driver, Dhiman Chandra Das, said the engine and the three compartments jumped tracks after a severe jerk. The derailment took place around 12.50pm.
Mrinal Kanti Das, the superintendent of railway police (Howrah), said: “It is true that some pandrol clips and hammers were found beside the tracks at the spot. We will seize them after receiving a complaint from Eastern Railway.”
The divisional railway manager (Howrah) of Eastern Railway, Anirban Dutta, who reached the spot late this evening, said: “We don’t have information about any work on the tracks. A probe will be carried out to find out the cause of the derailment.”
A senior railway official said the probe would “also find out whether there was a sabotage”.
In 2010, the Jnaneswari Express had got derailed after suspected Maoists removed the pandrol clips.
Brijbhusan Tiwari, 40, who was in D2, one of the derailed compartments of the intercity express, said: “The train was moving at a considerable speed. Suddenly, there was a severe jerk and we were almost thrown off our seats. We realised the train had derailed.” Tiwari was travelling to New Jalpaiguri.
Another passenger, Subir Chakraborty, 50, who was in D-1 that too jumped the tracks, said: “As soon as the bogies got derailed, many passengers rushed towards the doors. We are lucky there was no stampede. Immediately after the derailment, I saw some youths running away through paddy fields.”
Two injured persons, Indranil Ganguly of Siliguri and Jamirul Haque of Calcutta, were taken by government railway police to Rampurhat sub-divisional hospital, from where they were discharged after first aid.
A railway official said a special train left for Malda with the passengers of the derailed train. “From Malda, there are many connecting trains and the passengers will not face any difficulty in reaching their destinations,” the official said.
Several trains were cancelled, diverted and rescheduled because of the derailment.
A railway official said the Mada Town-Burdwan Passenger and the Barharwa-Burdwan Passenger were cancelled.
The diverted trains include the Sealdah-New Cooch Behar Express, Sealdah-Alipurduar Express, Trivandrum-Guwahati Express, Calcutta-Balurghat Express, Howrah-Guwahati Express, Sealdah-Varanasi Express, Vananchal Express and the Howrah-Gaya Express.