Guwahati-Bikaner Express was going from Bikaner to Guwahati when it met the fatal accident at Maynaguri in West Bengal. Till now, the accident claimed the lives of 9 people. 36 passengers are injured of which 6 are in critical condition. The passengers with critical injuries have been shifted to Jalpaiguri and Siliguri. The railway line is yet to be cleared, and most trains are now running through an alternate route.
At 5 pm on 13th January 2022, 8 coaches of Guwahati-Bikaner Express derailed from the tracks. Initial reports suggest technical failure of the locomotive was behind the cause of the derailment. Experts have found out that one of the traction motors of the locomotive failed and gave way which caused the WAP-4 locomotive to derail along with 8 other coaches immediately behind it. According to the loco pilot, he immediately applied emergency brakes which caused the speedy rakes behind to smash against one another. The ICF coaches have a tendency to climb over one another during an accident and it happened with one of the coaches. The obsolete nature of the WAP-4 locomotive, which is no longer produced by Indian Railways is also questioned. The rusty nature of old tracks and sleepers in that area have also come under discussion.
The villagers came to the rescue operations after hearing loud noise during the accident. Till now, all passengers have been rescued and all bodies have been recovered. The injured are receiving treatment at nearby hospitals. The Railway Minister of India visited the site on the morning of 14th January 2022 and announced a compensation of 5 lakhs for the deceased, 1 lakh for the critically injured and 25000 for the ones with minor injuries. An investigation by the Indian Railways is now underway, though people doubt if it would result in any positive outcome.
The number of accidents in recent years has greatly decreased. Technical failures and mistakes by the men in operation have been reduced to 0 in recent 2-3 years. Also, no major accidents have taken place due to trespassing after the Amritsar incident. It is after a long time a railway accident occurred, and it is a big accident. The latest derailment proved that we still have a long way to go to ensure our railways reach the accident-free level as in developed countries.
Written by – Himadri Paul