BHUBANESWAR: Passengers of Ernakulam-Howrah Antodaya Express had a miraculous escape after the train hit a JCB machine near Haridaspur station in Cuttack district on Wednesday.
Sources said the Express hit the earth excavator while passing a mannned level crossing between Haridaspur and New Garhmadhupur stations at about 10.15 am disrupting train services on the Howrah-Chennai route.
According to an eyewitness, the gateman at the level crossing gate lifted the boom barrier after a train passed on the UP line. The JCB machine developed some technical snags while crossing the Down line. As the Antodaya Express approached, the JCB driver abandoned the vehicle on the track, he said.
Even as the JCB machine has been completely damaged in the impact of the collision, no one has been hurt. “Thank God we escaped unhurt. The train was moving in a controlled speed. Else, it could have been proved disastrous,” said a passenger.
The railway authorities swung into action to restore normalcy and streamline train services on the route. A diesel engine was sent to bring the train as the overhead wire and the masts have been damaged.
“The panto-graph of the train engine has been broken. While UP and Middle lines were free for train movement, only Down line was temporarily held up. Traffic was smooth on the line after removal of obstruction from the track and repairing of the wire. There is no injury to anybody,” said a railway spokesman.
Meanwhile, the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of Khurda Road has initiated disciplinary action. As per prima facie inquiry findings, the gateman has been placed under suspension. “Gateman Jashobanta Swain has been suspended by for dereliction of duty. The DRM has ordered to start disciplinary proceedings against him. Responsibility on others will be fixed if any fault is found. Inquiry at officers level has also been ordered by the DRM,” the official added.