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Utkal Express accident: Mangled coaches pose tough challenge for track clearance

LiveMint logoLiveMint 20-08-2017 Kunal Dutt

Muzaffarnagar: Building on overnight search and rescue operation, the railways Sunday deployed high-tech cranes and scores of workers to clear the tracks even as the sleepy town of Khatauli tried to come to terms with the train tragedy.

Two heavy duty 140-tonne cranes were pressed into service at the crack of the dawn to clear derailed coaches, from which the survivors were rescued and bodies pulled out till late last night. Thirteen coaches of the high-speed Utkal Express yesterday jumped the rails, with one of them crashing into a house adjacent to the track near Khatauli in UP leaving over 20 passengers dead.

A group of curious onlookers gathered at the site of the accident this morning, as two coaches were hauled and put off track on the ground beside it. Linesmen and other workers brought from nearby places, shovelled away the unwanted stones as new concrete sleepers were laid to reinforce the ill-fated tracks. “We have come from Panipat to work on the clearing of tracks,” said a linesman on the job.

Work is currently underway to haul an overturned coach, which had rammed into the facade of a local college, while another sleeper coach which had rammed into a house, shattering its frontage, is still to be restored on the ground. “The train had 23 coaches out of which 13 had derailed. It was running at a speed of about 100 kmph when the accident took place,” said Delhi Division DRM, R N Singh.

Also Read: Utkal Express derailment: Railways put the death toll in UP train accident at 21

Six of the derailed coaches were damaged severely. Badly mangled coaches are posing a tough challenge in carrying out the work, going on in full swing after the rescue operation by the NDRF got over around 3am.

A posse of security personnel from the UP Police, the RPF, the PAC, the RRF, has been deployed at the site of the accident since it occurred last evening. And, it is not just the authorities having a sleepless night, almost the entire city seems to have lost sleep due to the sheer magnitude of the tragedy, that has befallen this town. PTI

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