The Indore-Patna Express derailed early on Sunday because the wheels of a coach had jammed, officials indicated, as passengers complained they alerted authorities of an unusually loud sound but were asked to not worry.
Eyewitnesses of the accident – which killed more than 100 people – told HT that they told the ticket collector about a thunder-like sound from underneath their S1 coach in Jhansi, hours before the accident.
“The sound was unusual. I travel a lot and I could make out the sound wasn’t right. Some passengers of my coach shared their concern with the TTE at Jhansi. He told us it was normal,” said Deepak Rajbhar, 32, a resident of UP’s Azamgarh who was in S1 coach with his uncle Jai Prakash. He is currently admitted at a hospital in Kanpur.
He said other passengers told the guard that the sound was very loud and people in the coach could not hear each other properly.
Neeta Gujarati, another survivor from the S1 coach who underwent a CT scan at Lala Lajpat Rai hospital in Kanpur for head injury, said she was sleeping. “There was a jerk and I fell,” she said.
Railway officials, who did not wish to be named, said the problem appeared to be in the S1 and S2 coaches – the worst-hit by the accident – and it concerned the wheels.
“The wheel apparently became immovable. As a result the coaches derailed one by one,” they said.
“The way the coaches have derailed on the side and climbed onto each other points to this theory. The railways have begun a preliminary inquiry into the accident and the picture will be clear after that,” they added.