Elephant dies after being hit by goods train in Jharkhand
A tusker was killed after being hit by a goods train on the Howrah-Delhi Grand Chord section in Jharkhand between Chichaki and Garia (Bihar) Station under East Central railway zone on Friday midnight.
Six trains had to run on a diverted route after the accident.
The incident took place when a herd of 26 elephants was crossing the railway tracks along what forest officials said was an elephant corridor on the Gomoh-Koderma railway route.
Senior divisional commercial manager, Dhanbad, Akhilesh Pandey said that the incident took place around midnight.
“The incident took place at around 12 in the night when a tusker collided with a goods train which had unloaded cement at Hazaribagh Road Railway Station and was going towards Dhanbad. Due to the impact of the collision, a wagon and the engine of the goods train had derailed. We managed to restore the down line (towards Delhi) around 2.40am and the up line (towards Howrah) at 6.10am,” said Akhilesh Pandey.
The area where the incident occurred falls under an old migratory route of the elephants, and a maximum speed limit of 40kmph for trains is in place, Hazaribag (East) divisional forest officer Sourabh Chandra said.
“It appears that the speed limit was not maintained by the goods train. Our team reached the spot in the early morning. The post-mortem of the elephant is being carried out. It is a sub-adult (between 10-15 years) tusker,” he said.
Chandra said the forest department would initiate a probe to establish the cause of the accident.
“We will serve a showcause notice to the railway authorities. A meeting with them will also be convened to chalk out a strategy to check such incidents in future. Prima facie, the railway officials have not abided by the Railway Board, NGT and Supreme Court directives like putting up signage on migratory/corridor of elephants, maintaining speed caution and cleaning the railway tracks of food materials,” he said.
The forest official added that railway authorities had been informed of the presence of the elephant herd in April and repeatedly asked them to exercise speed restraint at night as this is the time of movement of the elephants.
Hazaribagh Road Railway station master Dilip Kumar said the goods train had left the station around 11.30pm and the collision took place at 12.
“The goods train was moving on the Down line when suddenly an elephant came between the railway tracks. Before the train drivers could understand anything, there was a collision between the elephant and the train, due to which the elephant died on the spot. The engine of the goods train was also damaged in this incident. The collision was so strong that the train engine derailed and went from the Down line to the Up line. We were informed by the driver and guard of the goods train,” said Dilip Kumar.
The trains which had to be diverted include Anand Vihar (Delhi)-Bhubaneswar Express, Indore-Howrah Express, Kalka-Howrah Express, Jodhpur-Howrah Express, Rishikesh-Howrah Express and New Delhi-Ranchi Express.