Nearly 32 hours after the Muzaffarpur-Yashvantpur Express train (15228) derailed at Chitheri, seven km from Arakkonam, in Vellore district, the restoration of the damaged tracks was completed on Thursday and train services resumed.
After the repair work, the first train was operated through the section at a speed of 10 km per hour, about 12.15 am on Thursday. The accident, which had claimed a 52-year-old man’s life, besides leaving 33 passengers injured and causing major damages to the tracks and telecommunication lines, had thrown the rail traffic out of gear along the stretch.
After Jaipur Express passed through the section about 12.15 pm on Thursday, followed by Chennai-Hubli Express (4.15 pm), Darbhanga-Bangalore Express (4.45 pm), and Chennai-Coimbatore Inter-City Express (4.55 pm), Southern Railway officials said.
Jaipur Express was operated using a diesel engine from Chennai-Central and was replaced with an electric locomotive at Katpadi Junction. The other trains were operated using electric locomotives, after overhead lines were restored, the officials added.
Trains were operated after senior section engineer, Permanent Way, Walajapet, Chandrasekaran, certified the track.
An official said trains would run at a speed of 10 kmph on the 400-metre stretch, which was affected due to the derailment.
“The train will be operated at the normal section speed of 110 km/h, after ensuring proper ballast cushion of 300 mm,” another official added.
The previously exited turnouts at the accident spot were converted as plain straight tracks in view of emergency restoration work. The loop-line was fully suspended, he said and added that the loop-line would be renewed and normal train traffic movement on the loop-line would be restored within a month.
Sources added that around 800 employees of various divisions — engineering, over head equipment, signal, telecom, and permanent way — of the department were engaged in the restoration work. The restoration works were completed about 10.30 am on Thursday.
Due to the impact of the derailment, there were no tracks for a stretch of 250 metres and the tracks had been damaged to a great extend for another 150 metres. “We worked throughout the night and laid the new tracks for 400 metres. The work was completed before 10.30 am,” an official in the engineering department said.
Five overhead posts, a signal and a senor in the transformer on the left side of down line (Chennai Central- Katpadi) that were damaged in the accident were replaced, he added.
Eight out of the 12 bogies of the express train that had derailed were removed using two cranes.