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Engine catches fire, 25 trains held

Nov. 29: Around 25 trains bound for the Northeast and Calcutta were delayed by five-six hours because of a fire that broke out in the engine of a goods train carrying diesel between Barsoi and Mukuria stations in Bihar last night.

The trains held up by the accident included Darjeeling Mail and Padatik Express. Both the trains were going from Sealdah to New Jalpaiguri.

The blaze didn’t spread to the fuel-laden wagons as local people swung into action to put out the flames and rail engineers detached the burning loco.

Four railway employees suffered burns when they tried to remove the coupling that joined the engine and the wagon behind. They were admitted to the railway hospital in Katihar and were in a stable condition.

The train had 50 wagons and around 40-odd of them were carrying 60 tons of diesel each. Some of the wagons were empty so that they could act as buffer against the spread of a possible blaze.

The train was heading towards Malda from NJP when the fire broke out around 10.30pm yesterday. Mukuria is around 180km from NJP and 30km from Raiganj.

The line near the track, where the diesel-laden goods train was stopped, was cleared for traffic around 3.30am. The other line was opened for traffic at 6am after the engine of the goods train had been pulled to Mukuria.

“The Teesta Torsha Express from Sealdah to Cooch Behar, Saraighat Express from Howrah to Guwahati and Kamrup Express from Howrah to Dibrugarh were delayed by the accident,” said a railway official.

The Brahmaputra Mail travelling from New Delhi to Guwahati was also held up by the accident.

As the spot where the accident took place was not connected by proper roads, the fire brigade from Katihar and Raiganj couldn’t arrive on time. However, people living along the tracks came out of homes and brought four pump sets from the nearby fields and worked relentlessly to douse the flames.

The Barsoi-Mukuria section fell under the Katihar division of the Northeast Frontier Railway. The engine of the goods train was detached by a team of railway officials from Katihar.