Twelve coaches, including 11 sleeper coaches and one pantry car, of the 12381 Up Howrah-New Delhi Poorva Express derailed less than 15 minutes after it set off from Howrah Station at 8.15 am on Sunday.
The compartments derailed as the train was entering Liluah Station at 8.27 am. Officials said that due to the slow speed of the train, there were no casualties, although the derailed compartments dragged for about half a kilometre. Coaches S8 and S9 were the worst affected.
The driver of a goods train, which was at platform number 4, saw the derailment and warned the driver of the Poorva Express.
“I waved a red flag at the driver and he applied the emergency brakes after that,” said Jishnu Nandi, the driver.
Senior officials of the Eastern Railways, including General Manager Ram Kumar Gupta, rushed to the spot.
While some officials said that prima facie it looked like the workers had left without fully repairing the tracks, Gupta said that anything could be said for certain only after an enquiry.
“The matter will be investigated by commissioner of railways safety and only after that the reason for the derailment can be ascertained,” he said.
A local train brought the stranded passengers to Howrah where they were given refreshments and then sent off to New Delhi at 3 pm in a special train.
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