Episodes of Coal carrying Wagons emitting Smoke triggers Panic among Residents

No smoke without fire as coal wagons alarm town

Daltonganj (DTO): Episodes of coal in railway wagons emitting smoke and triggering panic among residents, especially on the Coal India Chord (CIC) section of the East Central Railway, occur almost every month, sources in the railways said. Smoke from wagons indicates a fire among the piles of coal but no flames are visible.

Railway traffic inspector in Daltonganj station, A K Sinha agreed that, on an average, the town sees at least one incident of smoke billowing from coal-laden wagons every month.

He said smoke was seen in six wagons of a 58-wagon goods train on January 6, adding that this is caused due to improper washing of blasted coal. Unless a piece of blasted coal is treated with care, it continues to spark and burn slowly, creating smoke. Friction between coal chips also lead to minor fires.

Superintendent of Garhwa Road Junction station, S K Das said such fires need not be extinguished as they do not pose a serious threat to the crew of a goods train.

Sources said fire brigades were deployed to control the smoke. If a track is not free, trains are allowed to continue to the next station where the smoke is controlled, said Das. In the January 6 incident, the six wagons were doused with water at Garhwa Road Junction, more than 33 km from Daltonganj. The train could not be halted at Daltonganj due to the unavailability of free tracks.

Coals are loaded onto wagons at Khelari, after which it is taken to places as far away as Haryana.