At least four passengers died and 70 others were injured when six coaches of the Delhi-Kamakhya North East Express derailed near the Raghunathpur station in Bihar’s Buxar district on Wednesday night, officials said.
The derailment occurred at 9:53 pm and at least two AC III Tier coaches toppled over while four other coaches jumped the tracks, television visuals showed.
Buxar Superintendent of Police Manish Kumar told PTI that four passengers had died in the accident. A Railway Police Force official said at least 70 passengers have been injured and shifted to local hospitals. Those with serious injuries were rushed to AIIMS, Patna.
“Will find the root cause of derailment,” Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on X, even as he expressed condolences for the loss of lives.
The minister said evacuation and rescue operations were completed and all coaches have been checked.
The 23-coach 12506 North East Express had departed the Anand Vihar terminal in Delhi at 7:40 am on Wednesday for its nearly 33-hour journey to Kamakhya, about six kilometres away from Guwahati.
“The train was coming at a normal speed but suddenly we heard a loud sound and a plume of smoke rose out of the train. We rushed to see what happened. We saw that the train had derailed and the AC coaches were the most damaged,” Hari Pathak, a local resident said.
Television visuals showed locals rushing to the rescue of the passengers and helping them come out of at least two toppled coaches. The visuals also showed a woman passenger in a state of shock being helped out of a coach by locals.
Several police officials were also seen at the spot helping rescue passengers from the train.
Jagdishpur SDPO Rajiv Chandra Singh said electric wires and poles, and rail tracks have been damaged due to the accident. He said that while some coaches lost balance and fell, none of them overturned due to which there are less casualties. “The technical team can give the details of the cause (of the accident),” he added.
Chief Public Relations Officer of East Central Railway zone Birendra Kumar told PTI that the accident took place less than half an hour after the train left the Buxar station and was headed for Ara.
“The derailment took place near Raghunathpur station where the train does not have a scheduled stoppage,” he said.
Relief measures were initiated immediately after the incident, with ambulances and doctors rushing to the site.
Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav issued a statement saying that the departments of disaster management and health have been asked to take immediate steps to ensure the quickest possible relief to as many people as possible.
“I have also spoken to the district magistrates of Buxar and Bhojpur (where Ara is headquartered) with instructions to reach the site at the earliest and speed up relief work,” he said.
“In Sub-Divisional Hospital Jagdishpur and Shahpur Hospital, District Bhojpur, medical officers and other health workers are ready for rescue and relief operations. Ambulances from Rohtas, Buxar and Bhojpur districts have been sent to the spot,” Yadav added.
A railways official said alternative arrangements have been made to ferry passengers of the derailed train to their respective destinations.
A scratch rake was dispatched from Patna to ferry passengers from the accident site, the official said. A scratch rake is a temporary rake with a similar configuration as the original train. Six buses too were sent to the accident site to evacuate the passengers to safety.
A railway official said one rake has been arranged from Ara to end the stranded passengers to their onward journeys.
“Medical teams have been sent to the spot,” Deepak Kumar, Inspector, Railway Police Force, told reporters, adding that the district administration had alerted local hospitals in Buxar town.
“We have sent rescue and medical teams to the spot. The railways has also issued emergency helpline numbers for passengers. These are 9771449971 (Patna), 8905697493 (Danapur), 8306182542 (Ara), 8306182542 and 7759070004,” he said.
War rooms have been established for monitoring and early restoration of the coaches and rescue operations were going on in full swing, a railway official said.
At least 18 trains operating on the route, including the Rajdhani Express between Delhi and Dibrugarh, have been diverted.