Two days after one of India's worst train accidents at Bahanga Bazar in Odisha's Balasore district, most railway tracks have been cleared of wrecked railway coaches overnight by a team of bulldozers and cranes so that railway services on the main trunk line connecting eastern and southern India can be restored, railway officials said on Sunday.
Work on repairing tracks and overhead electric cables which had snapped is also going on, said officials.
Union Ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and Dharmendra Pradhan who have camped here visited the railway accident site in the early hours of the morning.
"Restoration work is going on at a fast pace," said Vaishnaw.
Pradhan added that "rescue work is over … we are working with the local administration to send people affected back home." He also said that the big challenge is to restore tracks so that the railway link between two important wings of the country can start functioning.
"By Tuesday we should be able to do it," the minister said.
"We have teams working round the clock. Restoring at least two lines -up and down - is absolutely essential as quickly as possible," a senior railway official at the site said.
"Restoration work on tracks is on. We are also working on overhead cables and masts which were uprooted … soon the down line will be restored and then the up line,” the official said.
A thorough search is being conducted in the passenger coaches which have been removed to check for bodies which may still be in them trapped in crumbled steel parts of the coach.
Sources said that the number of deaths in the triple train crash on Friday has also increased from 288 to 295 but this could not be confirmed as yet.
The triple train pile-up near Balasore on Friday disrupted passenger and goods traffic between important industrial centres. Many of the patients initially admitted to Balasore and other local hospitals have been released or shifted to bigger cities with multi-speciality hospitals including Cuttack, Bhubaneswar and Kolkata.
Most of the dead bodies too have been shifted to a facility in Bhubaneswar, said hospital administrators.
Three trains— Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express, Bengaluru-Howrah super fast and a goods train — were involved in the pile-up, now being described as one of India’s worst train accidents.
The Coromandel Express crashed into a stationary goods train, derailing most of its coaches at around 7 pm Friday. A few passenger wagons of Coromandel whiplashed the last few coaches of the Bengaluru-Howrah Express which was passing by at the same time.
Investigators are looking into possible human error, signal failure and other possible causes behind the three-train crash.
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