CUTTACK/BHUBANESWAR: At least 30 passengers, including two children, were injured as Mumbai-Bhubaneswar Lokmanya Tilak Express derailed near Nergundi railway station in Cuttack district on Thursday.
East Coast Railway (ECoR) sources said five coaches of the bi-weekly superfast train derailed and three coaches were displaced from track at about 6.45 am after it hit the rear guard van of a stationary goods train between Salagaon and Nergundi due to dense fog.
Fire personnel, ambulances, Accident Relief Train (ART) and Accident Relief Medical Equipment (ARME) train with divisional officers from Khurda Road rushed to the spot for rescue of passengers.
The injured were rushed to Tangi hospital and later shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital at Cuttack. While eight passengers were provided first aid at the spot, the condition of five others is stated to be serious.
ECoR Chief Public Relations Officer JP Mishra said the injured persons are out of danger. Arrangements were made for the travel of stranded passengers and restoration of tracks was going on to normalise train services, he added.
Though the exact cause of the derailment is yet to be ascertained, sources said the speed of the Express train was higher than the speed prescribed for intense fog conditions. “The goods train was detained enroute as it was to move to Bhadrak-Palasa line. The automated signal functioned as usual. Had the Express moved at 8 kmph as stipulated, the loco pilot could have spotted the train and the mishap could have been avoided. Speedometer of the Express has been seized,” the sources added.
Meanwhile, four railway staff, including Station Manager of Nergundi railway station, guard of goods train, loco pilot and assistant loco pilot of Lokmanya Tilak Express have been placed under suspension following preliminary inquiry.
The Railways have also ordered a probe into the mishap. Commissioner of Railway Safety (South Eastern Circle, Kolkata) Abhai Kumar Rai will hold the statutory inquiry on Saturday. “We have started disbursing ex gratia to the injured persons. While Rs 25,000 will be given to five injured passengers, those who sustained minor injuries will get Rs 5,000 each,” Mishra said.
Following the mishap, several trains were diverted via Naraj bypassing Cuttack station. Those included Bhubaneswar-LTT Express, Puri-Rourkela Passenger, Durg-Puri Express, Dhanbad-Bhubaneswar Rajyarani Express and Talcher-Puri MEMU.
The Railways and police have appreciated efforts of locals who helped the rescue team bring out injured persons from the derailed coaches.
“Since the track here is at a good height, fire personnel and cops faced difficulties to rescue the injured passengers. Locals helped us carry the passengers to ambulance,” said Cuttack Rural SP Radha Binod Panigrahi.
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