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SOS Came Too Late For Goods Train To Stop

An emergency signal was sent to the goods train barely five minutes after the derailment, but it was too late. The goods train driver pulled the brakes, but sheer momentum carried the goods train forward
PTI May 29, 2010 15:26 IST
PTI

An emergency signal was sent to the goods train barely five minutes after the derailment, but it was too late. The goods train driver pulled the brakes, but sheer momentum carried the goods train forward and smashed into the stranded bodies of Gyaneshwari Express, reports Times of India.

It was an uneventful journey for Jnaneswari Express till well past midnight. It left Kharagpur at 12.35 am and chugged past Khemashuli station at 45kmph.

Just before Sardiha, the engine driver apparently heard a “loud noise”. Before he could react, the wheels started slipping off the tracks near the 134/11 post. He pulled the brakes near post number 134/13, but the train rolled for about 150 metres before breaking apart near post 134/17.

Thirteen compartments were thrown off the tracks. While coaches S2 and S3 tilted to a side, S4, S5, S6, S7 and S8 skidded about 70 feet and landed on the opposite track. Barely five minutes later, before the survivors could recover from the shock, an iron ore-laden goods train was heard approaching from the opposite direction.

An emergency signal was sent to the goods  train but it was too late. The driver pulled the brakes but sheer momentum carried it on to the stranded bogies.

One can only imagine the horror of the passengers on coaches S5 and S6 as they saw the train draw near. Both compartments were tossed in the air and crushed like tin cans. There were no survivors.

The Jnaneswari locomotive pilot, B K Das, and assistant pilot T Debangan and the goods train driver Nirbhay Kumar jumped out in the nick of time but Nirbhay's assistant Nilanjan Singh was crushed to death. 

“There was a violent jerk and the lights went off. Everyone was thrown to the floor and the luggage started dropping from the bunks.

The compartment tilted to the right and slammed on the ground. We somehow managed to get out,” said Neelam Saluja, who was travelling with her daughter and husband in another coach. Kharagpur and Jhargram stations were alerted, but rescue efforts took time. It was only at first light that the operation gathered pace.