A fire broke out in the engine of Kalka-Shimla Himalayan Queen toy train between Dharampur and Kumar Hatti railway station in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh, affecting the traffic for more than five hours Tuesday afternoon. Railway authorities have ordered a probe to find out reasons behind the fire incident.
The train departed from Kalka railway station at 12.10 pm and its engine caught fire around 2.15 pm. Alert railway employees managed to control the fire within 20 minutes. Sources said an alert was sounded to nearby railway stations and fire brigades from Dharampur and Solan were also rushed to the spot, but by that time the fire was controlled.
Sources said all the seven coaches of the Himalayan Queen Express were full on the day. About 200 passengers travelling in the five reserved and two general coaches of the Himalayan Queen Express are safe, Ambala Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Dinesh Chandra Sharma told PTI.
Later, these coaches were taken to Shimla with the engine of Himalayan Queen (52456), which was coming from the Himachal capital. Another locomotive from Kalka took the seven coaches of the Himalayan Queen (52456) to Kalka.
Two Delhi-bound trains, including Kalka-New Delhi Shatabdi Express — which departs at 5.45 pm — was late for one and a half hours. They remained halted at Kalka railway station.
Kalka-Delhi Sarai Rohilla Himalayan Queen was late for two hours. Divisional Railway Manager Sharma said a probe was ordered for examining all the angles of the fire incident. “Prima facie, the engine developed a technical snag due to the burning of electrical wires leading to smoke billowing out of the engine. Apart from using a fire extinguisher, water from a nearby natural source was also used. We will also probe whether the engine had earlier given any indication about heating up of wires, which might have been ignored by staff members,” said the DRM.
The fire in the engine was controlled by driver Rajinder Kumar Paswan, assistant driver Pardeep Dubey, guard P L Meena and Ticket Examiner Robin. The railways have issued a statement that suitable award to the staff, who exhibited high sense of alertness in handling the tough situation, will be given.
The Himalayan Queen Express with seven coaches runs on UNESCO-protected Kalka-Shimla narrow gauge.