Train services resume on both rail lines at Odisha’s accident scene
Operations on the main down line resumed on Sunday evening 51 hours after the accident following the restoration of the overhead electric lines powering the trains
Train services resumed on both rail lines at Odisha’s Bahanaga Bazar railway station on Monday days after a collision between three trains there left 275 people dead and nearly 1,100 injured. Goods as well as passenger trains including long-distance ones such as the Howrah-Puri Vande Bharat Express and Coromandel Express passed through the area.
On Friday, the Chennai-bound Coromandel Express rammed into a goods train. The impact of the collision flung several compartments into the adjacent track with a few of them hitting the last two cars of the Howrah-bound Yesvantpur Express passing by on the opposite line.
Operations on the main down line resumed on Sunday evening 51 hours after the accident following the restoration of the overhead electric lines powering the trains. Nearly 100 trains were affected due to the accident.
In a statement, the South Eastern Railway early on Monday said the restoration work has been completed and both down lines have been declared fit. “The first train was run on the down line at 22:40 hours on Sunday...the first train was run on the up line at 00:05 hours on Monday. Normal traffic movement has resumed on both lines,” it said.
Officials said the trains were running at a very low speed of around 10 km per hour while crossing the accident site. “This is very normal. Whenever a major work is going on, the speed of trains is restricted. Even though train services have resumed, work is still going on in that area. ...The speed of trains will increase gradually,” said an official.
Howrah-Bhubaneshwar Jansatabdi Express, Howrah-Puri Satabdi Express, Shalimar Chennai Central Express, and Sealdah-Puri Duronto Express were among the trains cancelled due to operational constraints because of the accident.
Initially, goods trains were allowed to operate on the affected tracks as a trial run. Later passenger trains were given the go-ahead.
The damaged coaches were bulldozed, the tracks relaid and fresh overhead lines installed to restore operations on the impacted line on Sunday.
On Sunday night, railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said three trains have passed. “Around seven trains were scheduled to pass at night. We have to take it towards absolute normalisation. It is our responsibility to ensure that those still missing are reunited with their families at the earliest. Our responsibility is not over yet,” said Vaishnaw, who was at the accident site monitoring the restoration work.
He said the Railway Board has sought a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the accident. He suggested the authorities were looking into a possible sabotage attempt.