LAHORE / SARGODHA: A driver died and as many as 15 passengers were injured after the Lahore-bound Sargodha Express collided with a pebble-laden dumper truck in the early hours of Monday morning.
As a result, rail traffic on the branch line remained suspended for hours. The main reason behind the accident was said to be negligence of the on-duty gang-man, who did not close the gate at the level crossing.
“It was a manned railway gate and supposed to be closed at the time of the train’s arrival/passing time. Moreover, the pebble-laden truck got stuck on the track,” a spokesperson for Pakistan Railways told Dawn. “The gang-man has disappeared since the time of accident.”
The Lahore-bound Sargodha Express collided at about 5am with the crushed stone-laden dumper truck at the railway gate Nishtarabad (Chak No 119 NB), some 20 kilometres from Sargodha.
The collision damaged the truck, besides derailing and overturning the locomotive. As a result, assistant driver Waseem Irshad — a resident of railway colony (Lahore) and reportedly the only son of his parents — died on the spot, while driver Abdul Majeed and 15 passengers received injuries.
Though Rescue 1122 officials reported 15 injured, including five seriously, Pakistan Railways authorities in Lahore were not updated on the casualties.
“123-Up Sargodha Express pulled by engine No 8318 collided with crushed-stones laden dumper truck bearing No FD/313 that was already stuck at gate No-19/railway level crossing,” said an initial report submitted to the PR headquarters.
The Pakistan Railways authorities claim to have cleared the track and restored the traffic within the shortest possible time.
They said the railways minister had ordered an inquiry into the accident.
Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2019