By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 13 Mar: An AC coach of the Shatabdi Express coming from Delhi to Dehradun caught fire suddenly in the forests of Kasro Range, near Raiwala Junction this afternoon. Fortunately however, all the passengers were evacuated safely and no one was injured according to the Police. Passengers were in panic when the coach caught fire, following which the train loco driver applied emergency brakes and stopped the train in the forest area itself. According to the Railway authorities, there were 35 passengers travelling in this particular coach and all were evacuated safely without any casualty or injuries. The Railway staff, showing presence of mind, disconnected the coach from the rest of the train though it was positioned in the middle of the train and thereby secured the other bogies. Soon the whole coach started burning. Thankfully no passenger was harmed. However, some passengers’ belongings were destroyed. Hereafter, the operation of the trains going to and from Dehradun was affected due to the disruptions of the track.
The incident occurred at about 12:30 pm. The Shatabdi Express (12017) was heading towards Dehradun via Raiwala Junction and the Kasro Range of Rajaji Tiger River. A sudden fire broke out in the AC coach (C-5) near Kasro station. Seeing the flames, the passengers panicked and pulled the alarm chain, thereby alerting the loco pilot who applied the emergency brakes and stopped the train in the forest area itself. As soon as the train stopped, the passengers in the coach ran out to save their lives. Some passengers could not even take out their belongings in this hurry. Soon afterwards the fire engulfed the entire coach. The Railway staff, promptly disassembled this bogie attached at number eight after the engine. In this way, fire broke out in seven and five other bogies of the rear. On seeing this, the entire coach got burnt with flames.
This area is not populated at all, though there is a small railway station nearby. On receiving information about the incident, forest range officer Rajendra Prasad Nautiyal reached the spot with his team. The forest workers helped a lot in getting the passengers and their belongings safely out. After some time, the station chief, Raiwala, Amarjeet Singh also reached.
Six fire fighting vehicles from Rishikesh and Doiwala also reached the spot. The fire brigade extinguished the fire in the coach, but by then the entire coach was gutted. Soon after top railway officials also reached the spot. Senior Railway Manager of Northern Railway Moradabad division Rekha Sharma said that all the 35 passengers on board the C-5 coach of Shatabdi Express were safe and had been evacuated. They were later shifted to another coach and sent to Dehradun. She said that the cause of the fire was being investigated.
Rekha Sharma said that a total of 316 passengers had landed in Dehradun, who have been provided all assistance at the station by railway employees. DRM Tarun Prakash also left for the spot along with the team of officials.