In the early hours of Sunday, passengers aboard the city-bound Ferozepur-Mumbai Punjab Mail were jolted out of deep sleep, as the train derailed at Rohtak.
A day-and-a-half later, as the derailed train chugged into Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), there were sighs of relief from concerned relatives who had come to receive the passengers. Before the Punjab Mail entered CST around 11.30 am, it had halted for close to an hour at Dadar station, where most passengers got down.
Monty Kathiar (33), who got down at CST, had been sitting in a coach near the engine when eight coaches bringing up the rear went off the tracks. “Around 3.45 am, the train stopped close to Rohtak. Shortly after, we were told by fellow passengers that eight coaches right behind theirs had derailed and tipped over.”
Kathiar, a Punjab resident who is visiting Mumbai, said he got down from the train every once in a while to see the rescue work. Passengers could be heard shouting for help as they were stuck inside.
The victims were taken out of the capsized coaches and to a government hospital nearby, the Post Graduate Institute of Sciences (PGIMS).
The incident injured 27 passengers. No death has been reported.
Railway officials took more than two hours to clear the tracks of the toppled coaches and debris, after which the train resumed the journey around 6 am.
Parbit Singh (30), visiting Mumbai from Bhatinda, said, “The derailed coaches were removed and taken a km away from the spot. Affected passengers were shifted to the other coaches.”
Manoj Kumar Tripathi (35), a worker in the pantry, said, “When the train halted, passengers who had been asleep could feel it shaking. Later, I saw people being helped out from some tilted coaches. They were obviously traumatised.”
Several trains had been delayed, cancelled or diverted due to the derailment. Preliminary information indicates that a track fracture may have caused the accident, but investigations are under way to determine the main cause.