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Monday, July 30, 2012

Fire accident in Tamilnadu Express near Nellore takes heavy toll

Train No. 12622 – Tamilnadu Express traversing  2180 kilo meters is a prestigious train.  From New Delhi station it crosses 275 intermediate stations but has only 9 halts.  Presently it leaves New Delhi at 22:30 hrs and reaches Chennai at 07:15 on day 3 morning,  running 15 minutes less than 33 hours.  It covers the distance at an average speed of 67 kmph.  This train was introduced in August 1976 by Indira Gandhi.  This train is a very demanded train and gets about 24 coach rake generally comprising 6 AC coaches, 13 Sleeper class coaches, pantry car, two general unreserved second class coaches and two SLRs.  As you put your neck out of the coaches nearer the Engine, you will see a long serpentine line of coaches.         

Sadly,  there has been a fire accident in the early hours of today and more than 40 persons are feared dead – the no. of casualties differ from the various sources describing the ghastly accident. 

First Post and various other media report that several people were killed and others injured after the Delhi-Chennai Tamil Nadu Express caught fire near Nellore in the early hours of Monday, 30th July 2012.   It was initially reported by the IANS that five people were killed, though the toll was likely to rise. However, latest  report put the toll very high as arising out of the fire that broke  out around 5.30 am in the S11 compartment minutes after the Chennai-bound train left Nellore railway station in south Andhra Pradesh.  While 15 passengers are believed to have jumped down from the burning compartment, there was no official word about others.

Generally reserved compartments have 72 berths but could always seat more and many travel cramped in compartments.   Sadly there are reports that many were trapped inside when the flames engulfed the compartment. Fire fighting personnel extinguished the fire and rescue workers were using gas cutters and other equipment to retrieve the bodies. Ambulances were pressed into service to shift the injured to hospital. Top officials including district collector and superintendent of police rushed to the scene and supervised rescue and relief work.  The district collector said burning bogie was detached to prevent the fire from spreading to other compartments.

As the train was not moving at full speed, some passengers either entered the adjoining compartment or jumped down. However, those sleeping on the upper berths could not escape as the smoke spread fast and even the doors were not opening.

A rescue train from Chennai has left for Nellore in order to help identify the passengers who were injured or killed in the accident.  First post reports that Families whose relatives may have been travelling on board the Tamil Nadu Express in the S-11 coach can email details of their family members to the Government Railway Police at  Police authorities have requested relatives of those who may have been injured to send them details so that they can identify the victims and those who have been admitted to the hospital with injuries.  For contact the Helpline numbers at Nellore are : 0861-2345863, 864, 865, 866 and 0866-2576924; At New Delhi Station: 011-23342954, 23341072, 23341074. 

Tamilnadu Express was the  First Superfast to connect the Southern Metro with the state capital and  the train beat the record of GT Express which held the superfast train status of the South that time and fastest to reach New Delhi.  The two Tamilnadu Expresses the one from Delhi and its counterpart leaving Chennai on same day meet at the midpoint of Nagpur. Nagpur lies exactly in the middle of NDLS & MAS at around 1090 km from both cities (16 hrs of travel for both). Though the name is Tamil Nadu Express, the train has only one stop at Tamil Nadu i.e.,  Chennai Central

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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