Passengers onboard the Howrah-bound Rajdhani Express had a close shave on Monday as the front wheels of the engine derailed near Baruipara station in Hooghly district.

None of the coaches was, however, affected. There was no report of any casualties.

General Manager of Eastern Railway, V.N. Tripathi, said: “It is very difficult to say what exactly caused the accident. An inquiry has been ordered to investigate the matter.”

Meanwhile, the Additional Director-General (Railway), Dilip Mitra, ruled out any sabotage angle behind the incident and said that mechanical fault caused the accident.

“Prima facie, the pandrol clips became unhinged following the vibrations caused due to the physical impact of the application of emergency brakes in a fast-moving train. The displacement of the clips is clearly a post-application of brakes phenomenon,” Mr. Mitra said, quoting from reports of Superintendent of Railway Police (Howrah).

According to the Eastern Railway's Divisional Railway Manager (Howrah), Partha Sarathi Mandal, the train's driver applied emergency brakes after hearing a noise from the engine's undercarriage and feeling a jerk.

“The two front wheels of the engine derailed due to the impact of the sudden brakes applied. It was found that a portion of the engine's undercarriage had become loose and had dragged along some distance resulting in the noise and jerk,” Mr. Sinha said.

He added that a portion of the railway track was damaged due to abrasion with the loose portion of the undercarriage and several pandrol clips also became unhinged as a result.