Twenty-nine people, including 12 women, were injured when eight coaches of the Mumbai-bound Ferozpur-Mumbai Punjab Mail derailed near Rohtak in Haryana in the early hours of Sunday.
Three of the injured were said to be in a critical condition.
An inquiry by Commissioner Railway Safety (Northern Circle) R.K. Kardam has been ordered into the incident, which occurred between the Sampla and Kharawar stations in the Rohtak-New Delhi section at 3.50 a.m. Following the derailment, over 30 trains were cancelled, partially cancelled or diverted.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the derailment was caused by a rail fracture. More than 300 metres of the track was wrecked, said a senior railway official present at the site.
“It was around 4 a.m. that we got information…and immediately, teams of doctors, along with rescue teams, were rushed to the spot to give the victims medical aid. After all the injured were pulled out, a restoration operation was initiated to normalise traffic on the route,” said Northern Railway General Manager Raj Shekhar.
The injured were taken to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Rohtak, where a team of doctors, headed by Northern Railway Chief Medical Superintendent A. Shukla, was present to assist the hospital authorities.
Ramesh Kumar, 50, Nanhi Bai, 50, and Kapil, 42, sustained grievous injuries.
Recalling his horrific experience, Sudir Kumar Gupta, a passenger, said: “I was travelling on the lower side berth when I felt the train shake violently. I held on to the seat tightly. Suddenly, two women travelling on the berth above fell on me, and the coach was filled with dust. Somehow, I pulled myself out and reached the gate, guided by the light of my mobile phone. It was then that I realised what had happened. It was all dark, and the women and children were screaming for help.”
Most of the injured were discharged during the day, and special arrangements were made for their onward journey.
The restoration operation was still on when last reports came in. “Two cranes from the Delhi and Ambala divisions have been pressed into service. Besides, several railway officers, technicians and more than 400 labourers are working to restore the track on a war footing,” Mr. Shekhar said.
Meanwhile, the unaffected coaches, along with the passengers, arrived in Delhi around 8 a.m. and left on their onward journey an hour later. “A team of Northern Railway officials, led by Chief Commercial Manager P.K. Goel, along with railway doctors, attended to the passengers at the New Delhi station and gave basic medicines to a few. The passengers were also served snacks and water.
Additional coaches were attached to the train to accommodate the passengers.
Railway Minister Mukul Roy spoke to senior railway officials, hospital authorities and the driver of the train and ordered that the best possible treatment be given to the injured.