Three Railway personnel were killed when the engine of the Howrah-Jagdalpur Samaleswari Express caught fire after hitting a maintenance tower car in Odisha’s Rayagada district Tuesday, officials said. All three deceased were engaged in the maintenance tower car when the accident took place between Singapur Road and Keutaguda, East Coast Railway (ECoR) spokesperson J P Mishra said.
A maintenance tower car is used for inspection and maintenance of overhead electric transmission equipment of routes that are electrified. The incident happened after the engine, the front guard-cum-luggage van and a general second class coach of 18005 Howrah-Jagdalpur Express got derailed upon hitting the tower car engaged in some work, Mishra said.
The engine caught fire and was detached from the rake, he said. The train and passengers remained unharmed, but three staff engaged in the tower car died, the spokesperson added. The Railways ordered an inquiry by the Commissioner of Railway Safety, Kolkata, he said, adding that the matter has been viewed seriously and the Railway Board sought full details of the accident.
The Commissioner of Railway Safety is an independent statutory authority under the Ministry of Civil Aviation. The station masters on duty at Keutguda and Singapur Road have been placed under suspension, the spokesperson said.
Fire brigade and ambulance were sent to the site and senior officers from Visakhapatnam also rushed in, he added. The deceased were identified as Sagar, senior section engineer, Electrical, Gouri Naidu, electrical technician, and Suresh, technician of the maintenance tower, Mishra said.
Two buses were engaged to transport the passengers of the train to Jagdalpur and arrangements were made to provide them food, he said.
Steps have been taken to get the detached train back to Rayagada, sources said.