Chattala Express manages to avoid crash with truck in Comilla
Just two days after a collision between two trains killed 16 people in Brahmanbaria, another train derailed at Ullapara, Sirajganj on Thursday, snapping Dhaka’s railway communications with the northern districts for many hours.
The locomotive engine and seven coaches of Rangpur Express went off the rails at Ullapara Railway Station around 1:30pm following an unscheduled stop, said Assistant Station Master Rafiqul Islam.
Soon after, the engine caught fire, which then spread to four coaches including an air-conditioned one, he said.
On July 15, 11 people were killed in a collision between Dhaka-bound train Padma Express and a microbus at a level crossing in Panchakroshi union under Ullapara.
No one was, however, killed yesterday, but at least 25 passengers were injured when they hurried to get off the coaches, including those on fire.
They were later treated at the Ullapara Upazila Health Complex, said officials of the health complex and Fire Service and Civil Defence.
Firefighters, with help from police, railway staffs and locals, managed to douse the flames around 5pm.
Rafiqul said the accident occurred when the Rangpur-bound train, coming from Dhaka, was leaving the main platform of Ullapara Railway Station for Ishwardi after receiving a clearance from the lineman.
“The train was moving into the Sirajganj-Ishwardi tracks, when the locomotive suddenly went off the rails and seven coaches followed,” he said.
He added: “We are not sure yet whether the lineman gave the wrong signal. We are looking into it.”
After the accident, rail links between Dhaka and the northern districts remained cut for nearly seven hours, caollapsing the schedule of trains of that route.
The services resumed on one of two tracks around 9pm, after the derailed coaches of Rangpur Express were moved by a relief train that arrived at the scene from Pakshi around 5:45pm.
Both Rafiqul and railway west zone’s (Pakshi) Divisional Transportation Officer (DTO) Md Abdullah Al Mamun confirmed the matter, adding it will be at least 10-12 hours before track No 1 was operational.
Another crash scare in Comilla
Our Comilla correspondent reported that a soil-laden truck broke down at the Murapara level crossing around 5pm on Thursday.
The train, coming from Dhaka, applied emergency brake and managed to stop before crashing into the truck, after the level crossing’s gateman Md Tipu moved ahead on the tracks and signalled it with a red flag.
Railway communications on the route resumed over an hour later, after the truck was removed from the tracks, said railway’s Comilla division acting assistant engineer Ram Narayan Dhar.
Following the derailment of Rangpur Express, Sirajganj district administration and railway authorities formed three separate committees to look into the incident.
Railway west zone’s (Pakshi) Divisional Manager Mizanur Rahman said a five-member probe committee, led by DTO Mamun, was formed and asked to submit its findings within five workdays.
He said: “Steps will be taken against the lineman, if he is found at fault for giving wrong clearance signal.
“Not just him, anyone found negligent will face action.”
Another four-member committee, headed by west zone’s Chief Operating Superintendent Md Shahidul Islam, was also formed by railway authorities to investigate the reasons that led to the train’s derailment.
It was asked to submit its report within three workdays.
Sirajganj’s Deputy Commissioner Faruk Ahmed said the five-strong committee they formed was headed by Additional DC Md Firoz Mahmud and asked to submit its report within five workdays.
Additional reporting by Masud Alam from Comilla