A mysterious fire gutted four coaches of a Bangalore-bound express train on Wednesday, hours ahead of its departure from New Delhi railway station.
"The fire broke out at around 3:30 pm in one of the sleeper coaches of the Karnataka Express," a Railway official said, adding "within minutes another coach caught fire which was six coaches away from where the first fire broke out." No one was injured in the incident, the official said.
Six fire tenders which immediately rushed to the spot to douse the blaze faced difficulties as the train was stationed in between platform number 7 and 8.
"The fire spread to other bogies and completely gutted two coaches before being doused after more than one hour," he said, adding cause of the fire is not known.
"We are inquiring about the cause of the fire. An officer level enquiry has been ordered into the incident," the official said.
The train, which was to depart at 9:15 pm, would leave on time, he said, adding the coaches have been detached and replaced by fresh ones.
As the news about fire spread, passengers got panicked. Security forces were immediately deployed at all exit and entrance points of the station, he said.
It was also decided to halt sale of platform tickets from tonight.
"There was no one in the train when fire broke it. If passengers would have been on board, it would have been a major tragedy," an official on New Delhi Railway station said.
Railway officials termed the incident as a conspiracy. In 2004 also, several coaches of a train caught fire and were damaged in similar "mysterious" fire.