NEW DELHI/ASANGAON: The Railways today said a landslide caused by heavy rain led to the derailment of the Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express.
Officials said no casualties were reported in the accident that occurred at 6:36 AM today between the Vasind and Asangaon stations in Maharashtra, when the train's engine and nine coaches derailed.
"Prima Facie cause (of the derailment) is a sudden landslide because of the heavy rain. On getting the information, senior officials immediately rushed to the spot,"
Indian Railways spokesperson Anil Saxena said.
Minister Suresh Prabhu was monitoring the situation closely, the spokesperson said.
"There was a landslide and the driver saw it and applied the brakes. That's why there were no injuries. We have sent 35 buses and all senior officials have reached the spot,"
Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani told reporters in Delhi.
The spokesperson said an accident relief train and a medical van was also rushed to the site.
The passengers were transported to their destinations by road, he said.
Helpline numbers have been set up at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), Thane, Kalyan, Dadar and Nagpur stations.
No passenger is believed to have been injured, Sunil Udasi, Chief PRO of the Central Railway, said.
"The driver did an excellent job of applying the emergency brakes," he said.
The train had 18 new Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches.
These coaches, developed in Germany and produced by the Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala, are such that they do not turn over in a collision or a derailment, officials said.
In 2016, after two accidents, Prabhu had said LHB coaches would replace all conventional rakes by the end of 2017 for greater safety and comfort.
The issue of safety was also stressed in a letter to railway employees by Lohani yeterday.
The Railways had suffered a "serious dent" in the recent past because of "certain unfortunate incidents", he said.
"We have to always be on our guard to ensure the highest level of safety in train operations and instill a renewed sense of confidence in our esteemed passengers," the letter said.
A PTI correspondent, Justin Rao, who was on board the train, said the accident happened when most passengers were sleeping.
"While we were sleeping, we felt a jerk and several passengers fell off their berths. When we got up, we found our train's bogies derailed," he said.
A few people were stuck in washrooms and were rescued by passengers who broke the glass on the windows, Rao said.
"Though relief and rescue came a bit late, everything was fine once the Central Railway team arrived," he said.
A team of doctors as well as senior officers also reached the spot.
Arrangements have been made to transport stranded passengers from the site to CSMT or other destinations by buses and taxis.
Traffic operations in the affected section have been stopped and a few trains have been diverted or shortterrminated, an official said.
A statement issued by the Central Railway said, "12859 CSMT-Howrah Gitanjali Express has been diverted via KalyanKarjat-Pune-Daund-Manmad route."
"Sectional officials and railway workers have arrived at the spot and the entire team has swung into action to rescue stranded passengers and restore traffic in the affected section," PRO Udasi said.
"Our rescue team along with the Accident Relief Train and engineering staff has reached the spot," he said.
This is the fourth train derailment in the country in 10 days.
Fourteen coaches of the high-speed Utkal Express jumped the tracks on August 19, killing 23 people and injuring 60.
About 100 passengers were wounded when 10 coaches of the Kaifiyat Express train derailed on August 23 in UP's Auraiya district after crashing into a dumper on the tracks.
On August 25, six coaches of an Andheri-bound local train derailed in Mumbai, injuring six passengers.