| ECR general manager Madhuresh Kumar inspects the accident site. Picture by Sachin |
Hundreds of passengers on the Capital Express (13248) had a miraculous escape on Tuesday night when the train derailed near Patna Sahib station at 11.58pm.
The train runs between Danapur and Kamakhya in Assam. Railway officials described the accident as rail fracture.
At least 12 coaches got derailed between Gulzarbagh and Patna Sahib stations near level crossing No. 71 but no casualties have been reported, as the train was slowing down to halt at Patna Sahib. The incident occurred in the Danapur division of East Central Railway (ECR).
The derailed coaches were five AC coaches (two coaches of AC-II tier, two of AC-III tier and a coach of AC-I), five sleeper class coaches and two general coaches.
Nishant Kumar, a resident of Muzaffarpur travelling in an AC-II coach, said: “The train was delayed for half an hour and we started our journey around 10.55pm. After having dinner, I was about to go to bed when I lost balance and fell down from the upper berth. There was chaos everywhere and we thought the train met with an accident. Soon we realised it had derailed before the train could make a halt.”
Devki Nandan Sharma, a resident of Danapur, travelling in a sleeper class coach, said: “I never had such an experience in my life. I thought it was the impact of cyclone Phailin, which is in news at present. Believe me, I started chanting the Hanuman Chalisa and did not leave the berth until the railway employees told me about the derailment.”
Owing to the derailment, at least 17 trains, including express and passenger trains, on the Patna-Mokama route got cancelled. The major express train which were cancelled on Wednesday included Danapur-Tatanagar Express, Patna-Dhanbad Express and Danapur-Jayanagar Intercity Express.
Toofan Express, scheduled to go to Shri Ganganagar, was diverted via Gaya as were the Patna-Puri Express and Akal Takht Express. The Vikramshila Express will arrive at Patna Junction from Mughalsarai via Gaya.
Senior railway officials, including ECR general manager Madhuresh Kumar rushed to the spot by 12.40am. Danapur divisional railway manager N.K. Gupta said: “Prima-facie, it appears that the cause of the derailment is rail fracture (gap between tracks). However, the exact report will come later after proper investigation.”
He added: “Eight coaches have been put back on tracks and the remaining four coaches will be put back soon. By 8pm on Wednesday, I think train service will become normal.”
Many passengers were found stranded at Patna Junction waiting for their trains.
The ECR has also issued helpline numbers for Patna Junction (0612-2202290 and 0612-2213234) and Danapur station (06115-232398).