Accidents are a common term for Vimlesh Kumar, a gateman at 206E Gate falling under North Central Railways (NCR), who is used to seeing them. But he will never forget the Indore-Patna Express derailment that took place barely 200m from the gate where he was posted.
Gateman Vimlesh was the first prime witness to the incident. “I still cannot believe what I saw. It was no less than watching a train tragedy in an action film. But unlike movies, there were all cries and screams at the end,” said Vimlesh, still recuperating from the state of shock.
It was around 12am when Vimlesh took charge of the night duty. “But somehow, I wasn’t comfortable with the job yesterday and it had never happened before. But I soon got busy in the routine,” said Vimlesh, who joined railways just two years back.
Things were smooth until 3:10am — before this, he manned the gates for two trains. “At around 2:45am, I manned the gates, giving clearance to the Sabarmati Express and then at 2:45am for a goods train. But then it was time of the Indore-Patna Express and I was waiting with a signal for the train to arrive,” he said.
In the nocturnal silence, he heard a deafening noise, different from that of the train. “I pulled my head out of the cabin and fumes and sparks all around. I sat down for a minute as I couldn’t connect myself to the situation and it took me a good 50 seconds to realise that it was a crash,” he added.