| A worker repairs electrical wires near the accident site of the New Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express on Wednesday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
Patna, June 26: Train services on the East Central Railway (ECR)’s Chhapra-Sonepur section were restored today after the New Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express jumped tracks yesterday, killing four passengers.
The accident, which left 23 people injured, three grievously, hit train services on this section and led to the cancellation of four trains, including, Purvanchal Express (15050), Bapudham Superfast Express (12537), Barauni-Muzaffarpur Special (05231), Chhapra-Tatanagar Express (18182).
The engine and 11 bogies of Rajdhani Express jumped tracks, affecting the services till 1.40pm.
ECR chief public relations officer Arvind Kumar Rajak said: “Normal traffic has been restored on the Chhapra-Sonepur section and all senior ECR officials did not leave the spot till the traffic became smooth.”
Under the supervision of ECR general manager Madhuresh Kumar, the affected railway tracks were made operational on both the Up and Down lines.
The ECR’s engineering department announced that the Up line got fit to run trains at 3.35am and at 6am, a goods train was first allowed to run on the track. “Finding the Up line fit to run the train, we allowed the Sealdah-Ballia Express (13105) pass after the goods train,” said a senior railway official.
Similarly, the Down line was declared fit at 10.50am after which the overhead electricity wire became functional at 11.40am. Thereafter, a goods train departed Chhapra Kacheri station at 12.57pm and passed the accident spot at 1.21pm to reach Goldenganj at 1.30pm. At 1.40pm, Vaishali Superfast Express (12554) was the first express made to run on the track.
Similarly, the railway line on the ECR’s Muzaffarpur-Narkatiaganj section, where 18 bogies of a goods train were derailed in an explosion allegedly triggered by Maoists has not yet been restored. Senior officials of the Samastipur division are camping at the spot and work is progressing on a war footing to normalise the traffic.
Speaking to The Telegraph over the phone from the spot, Samastipur divisional railway manager Arun Malik said: “Around 250 labourers are involved in repairs. We are taking the help of two 140-tonne cranes to separate the jumbled up bogies.”
Nearly 200m of railway tracks between Mehsi and Chakia stations near East Champaran’s Mani Chhapra village was blown up on Tuesday night, leading to cancellation of four express trains and 14 passenger trains.
Some of the affected trains include Saharsa-Ambala Cantt Jansadharan Superfast Special (05517), Raxaul-Hajipur Intercity Express (15202), Narkatiaganj-Hajipur Intercity Express (25202), Muzaffarpur-Raxaul Passenger (55211).
Asked about the timing of the railway track becoming operational, Malik said: “The explosion has made a 2m ditch and we are still collecting gelatin scattered near the railway tracks. The speed of work indicates that services would be restored by late on Thursday night.” The train, with 42 bogies, had left Muzaffarpur around 9pm and was on way to Raxaul.
ECR, in its press note, said a letter released from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) letter number 82(8403)/2014-PMF dated 26.06.2014, Narendra Modi has announced instant relief of Rs 2 lakh each to the next to kin of deceased and Rs 50,000 each to the seriously injured passengers of Rajdhani Express (12236) from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. This is in addition to the enhanced ex gratia already announced by the railway minister.
Passengers reach Assam
Passengers of the 12236 Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express reached Assam today by a special train provided by the NF Railway. A few of them complained of lack of facilities like water on the train, while others thanked the railway for the special train.
“Our priority was to bring the passengers home as early as possible. Were we to bring Rajdhani Express coaches, the passengers would have had to wait for longer, as those would have come from New Delhi,” said NF Railway public relations officer Nripen Bhattacharjya. Devoid of extra trains, they had to assemble a special (emergency) train. The 15-coach replacement train had two AC coaches and five sleeper coaches. Five other sleeper coaches were added at New Jalpaiguri.
Bhattacharjya said drinking water bottles, breakfast and lunch were distributed among the passengers at different stations like Katihar, New Jalpaiguri and Guwahati.