Odisha train accident: Trains back on track, NDRF ends operation
Train services resumed on both lines at Balasore's Bahanaga Bazaar in India on Monday following a fatal train accident that killed 275 people. The first train ran on the "down line" at 10:40 pm on Sunday night, while the "up-line" resumed at 00:05 hours on Monday. Normal traffic movement has resumed but trains are travelling at low speeds of around 10 kilometres per hour. The restoration process was carried out by sleeper rakes, poclain machines, tower cranes and over a thousand personnel.
Less than 72 hours after the train accident that has left 275 people dead, the railway tracks at Balasore’s Bahanaga Bazaar were restored by Monday morning, for both goods and passenger trains. On Friday night, the Coromandel Express had collided into a goods train, with its derailed bogeys then crashing into the onrushing Yeshwantpur-Howrah Express, in India’s worst train accident inthree decades. While the focus for the first day was the rescuing the over 1100 injured passengers, and extricating the bodies of the dead, restoration work picked up pace on Saturday.
By 10:40 pm on Sunday night, railway officials said, the first train was run on the “down line”. “The first train was run on the up-line at 00:05 hours on Monday. Normal traffic movement has resumed on both lines,” officials of the South Eastern Railways said.
Union Railways Minister Vaishnaw was at the spot on Sunday night as the first trains passed and said, “Already three trains have passed. We have to take it towards absolute normalisation.”
South Eastern railways officials said that though train services have resumed, those passing through the affected stretch were traveling at low speeds for now, around 10 kilometres per hour. “This is normal. There is still some work to do. The speed of trains will increase gradually,” an official said.
Officials said that the challenge that confronted them was 600 metres of track being uprooted. “We have worked non stop in the searing heat,” said chief public relations officer A Choudhary. Sleeper rakes, poclain machines, tower cranes, and over a thousand personnel were pushed into service in the restoration process. By Sunday evening, the overhead electric lines had been restored serviceably, officials said.
By Monday afternoon, several passenger trains had used the route, but among the first was the Howrah Puri Vande Bharat Express. Inside the train that first crossed the accident site at 9:25 am, PTI reported, there was a stunned silence at the wreckage, and others sent up a silent prayer. The railway authorities had screened off the area with green cloth, but the scale of the mangled remains of the three trains were impossible to hide. “This is too painful to be watched, let alone from the comfortable confines of the Vande Bharat,” one passenger said.
With agency inputs