Passengers wait for the snag to be rectified near Barakar station, 42km from Dhanbad, on Wednesday. (Gautam Dey)
Passengers of New Delhi-Howrah Duronto Express had a close shave on Wednesday morning when vacuum system of the brake developed a technical snag as the train was chugging out of Barakar station, about 42km from Dhanbad, around 5.50am.
Panic gripped the passengers in at least six coaches of former railway minister Mamata Banerjee’s showpiece train when they suddenly felt an awful jerk.
Some stone chips between the tracks flew and in the process injured a stall operator Shakti Kumar and a porter Shanki on the platform.
Sensing trouble in the vacuum system of the brake, coach attendant of S-5 bogie Gautam Das Mahapatro immediately pulled the chain and the train slowly came to a halt near the east cabin outside the station.
The frightened passengers got down and huddled together to know the reason for the sudden disruption.
The injured duo, on the other hand, were rushed to the railway hospital in Barakar. where they received first aid and were discharged.
On inspection, it was found that several brake vacuum cylinders had burst and the connected air pipes in bogies S-1 to S-6 had snapped.
Officials of Asansol division of Eastern Railway led by senior divisional mechanical engineer Suman Raj and chief yard master Dilip Kumar rushed to the site along with a team of technicians at 7am.
Asansol additional divisional railway manger A.K. Shukla who supervised the repair work refused to speak.
Eastern Railway PRO B. Murmu, however, said: “An enquiry will be carried out to find out the exact reasons for the snag. It is very difficult at this moment to tell anything.”
He added that the railways had provided breakfast to the passengers at Barakar as the train was scheduled to reach Calcutta at 6.10am, but got delayed by over four hours owing to the snag.
The train departed towards its destination around 10.16am.
A railway official later explained that had the train picked up momentum, it would have been difficult to apply the brake and stop it.
“The operation of the vacuum brake relies on the difference in pressure between the two sides of the brake cylinder piston. Besides, the cylinder piston transmits pressure to the brake blocks on each wheel. In other words, the brake cylinder is integral with the vacuum reservoir,” he said.