RAMPUR, MORADABAD DIVISION: Hinting at sabotage behind the Rajya Rani Express derailment, the Railways today said defects in the track could be due to “extraneous factors” as they could not develop suddenly.
A three-foot portion of the railway track was found missing, the police had said earlier.
“The track was tested on February 27 using ultrasonic flaw detectors (USFD) and no defect was found. So, the possibility of involvement of extraneous factors in causing damage to the track cannot be ruled out,” said a source in the railway ministry.
The next USFD test of the track is due on April 27 as the automatic test of railway tracks is done every two months.
Track fracture is either caused by poor maintenance or there can also be man-made factors which can be termed as “extraneous” or “sabotage”.
Besides, the source said, five trains had passed over the track prior to the ill-fated Rajya Rani Express and the loco pilots of those trains had not reported any unusual occurrence.
The real cause of the derailment will be known only after the completion of the inquiry, but there were indications towards sabotage, the source added.
Eight coaches of the Rajya Rani Express derailed near Rampur in the morning. The mishap occurred two kilometres from Rampur Junction railway station and about 100 metres from the Kosi river bridge, resulting in injuries to passengers and rail traffic disruption.
While according to Rampur police, 15 passengers were injured, three of them seriously, the railways claimed that only two passengers – Amit Katiyar and Megh Singh – were injured.
The railways has ordered an inquiry into the incident and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 50,000 each for the injured passengers.
Eight rear coaches of the 22,454 Meerut City-Lucknow Rajya Rani Express derailed near Rampur on Moradabad- Shahjehanpur section of Moradabad division at 8.15 AM.
The spokesperson said the railways has been able to clear one line and the train operation on this line has started, whereas efforts are on to restore the affected line.
The Railways has announced a compensation of Rs 50,000 each for the two passengers who have received injuries in the incident.
The Accident Relief Train and Medical Relief Trains have reached on the spot for relief and first-aid work.
Pramod Kumar, the Divisional Railway Manager of Moradabad division, along with other senior railway officials, have reached the site to supervise the relief work.
The Railways have operationalised helplines at Lucknow, New Delhi, Old Delhi, Nizamuddin, Moradabad and Bareilly to help relatives of affected passengers.