Twelve coaches of Thiruvananthapuram- Mangalore express derailed in the wee hours on Sunday near Karukutty station, around 45 kms from Kochi, Southern Railway said. No casualties were reported in the incident. The incident took place around 2.30 am when the 16347 express train derailed between Aluva and Karukutty stations in Ernakulam district after leaving from Thiruvanathapuram at 8.40 pm on Saturday, a Southern Railway spokesman said. Following the incident, buses and local trains were arranged to ferry the stranded passengers to Kochi and Thrissur.
The cause of the derailment has not been confirmed yet but it is suspected to be due to a broken rail. A possible major collision was also averted as the Chennai-Trivandrum train coming towards Ernakulam was stopped
around 300 metres away from the accident spot following a timely alert, railway official said. “We alerted the incoming train and it was stopped about 300 metres away. This was an achievement of the railways safety measures,” the official said.
The 12 coaches tilted over the rails onto the ballast rather than overturn. The repair works is expected to take at least 10 hours as the railway officials, police and rescue workers work together to restore the damaged tracks. The derailment has blocked both lines of the route on Ernakulam-Thrissur route, a Southern Railway spokesman said. Some local trains connecting major stations of Kerala have been cancelled because of the derailment.
Southern Railways Additional General Manager P K Mishra, who visited the accident spot along with senior colleagues, told reporters that fortunately there was no casualty. One woman passenger complained of shoulder pain and was taken to a nearby hospital and after first aid left for home, he said.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Railways have arranged special trains and buses for transporting stranded passengers, adding it was suspected that there was some defect in the track. Ramachandran, a ticket examiner, said he heard a loud noise at the time of the derailment and passengers panicked. It was raining heavily when the incident occurred, he said.
A railways release announced helpline numbers:
9746769960, 9746761072, 0471-2320012.
Six long distance trains, including Kanyakumari-Mumbai CST Express, Thiruvananthapuram-Gorakhpur Rapthisagar Express, Kanyakumari-Begaluru Express and Thiruvananthapuram-New Delhi Kerala Express have been diverted via Tirunelveli, it said. Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) will be providing buses between Thrissur and Ernakulam depending on the arrival and departure timings of trains, it said.
(With inputs from PTI and Manorama News)