Six coaches of two Rajdhani Express trains were completely damaged in a fire at the maintenance yard at the New Delhi Railway Station on Tuesday. No one was injured in the incident but train services were hit.
Railway officials have ordered a high-level committee to investigate the incident.
A Delhi Fire Services official said the fire broke out around 12 noon, apparently after a diesel pipeline burst in the yard. But the police said the official cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained.
An official tries to extinguish the flames inside a coach of the train. (Raj K Raj/ HT Photo)
Twenty fire tenders were rushed to the spot with the firemen taking nearly two hours to tame the blaze.
The empty coaches of the Bhubaneswar and the Sealdah Rajdhani trains were parked in the yard for maintenance. Two air-conditioned coaches of the Bhubaneswar Rajdhani and three coaches of the Sealdah Rajdhani and its pantry car were burnt.
Officials from Northern Railway, however, said that they acted promptly and managed to unhitch the remaining coaches of the trains to prevent further damage.
"The fire was first noticed in two coaches of Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express stationed at the yard for cleaning and washing. The blaze soon spread to four air-conditioned coaches of the Sealdah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express stationed on an adjacent line," chief public relations officer (CPRO) of Northern Railways Neeraj Sharma said.
Train operations were hit at the New Delhi station as approaching trains halted midway and power supply to their over-head electrical lines cut as a precautionary measure. The departure timings of the Bhubaneswar and Sealdah Rajdhani trains were rescheduled after the incident.
"The yard generally only has duty officials along with a few ground level workers assigned to clean designated trains. No one knows what triggered the fire but timely action by the duty staff helped to prevent damage to other coaches. We were present with the fire fighters," said a northern railway duty official.
A high-level inquiry committee into the incident was later ordered by the general manager of Northern Railways.