Close Shave For Rajdhani Train After Maoists Blow Up Track In Bihar

A major disaster was averted after a pilot engine detected a damaged railway track near Gaya in Bihar just hours before a Rajdhani train was to pass though that area. Maoists had allegedly blown up the track last night.

The incident happened around 11 pm last night when the driver of the engine alerted authorities about the track between Islampur and Rafiganj. It was running ahead of the New Delhi-Howrah Rajdhani as also a Rajdhani that was headed from New Delhi to Bhubanewswar.

A pilot engine, as part of a basic safety precaution, runs on the track an hour before passenger trains as a way of ensuring the tracks are intact. In this case, it was done in view of a bandh called by Maoists to protest the death of two people in alleged police firing in Aurangabad district a few days ago.

"The engine of the petrol train derailed by all wheels because there was a blast on the track which uprooted the rail for four meters length... There was no casualty of any type... but we could save a major calamity by a very timely action," said Arunendra Kumar, Chairman of the Railway Board.

Several trains have been delayed due to the damage to the tracks. Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda has sought a report on the incident.

Four people were killed last month after a Rajdhani Express headed from Delhi to Assam derailed in Chapra, 75 kilometres from the state capital of Patna. Officials had then ignored an alert sounded by a police officer after Naxal insurgents called a strike in the area.

Since a mega attack on a train in Bihar in 2002 in which more than 100 people were killed, the central government had ordered that pilot trains - either an engine with a driver or a freight train - will precede passenger trains which are routed through areas dominated by Naxals.

© 2019 Asian Mirror (pvt) Ltd