Friday morning. People rushed to work. Most people ran to catch trains and buses, as if their lives were at stake or the world was coming to an end. As for me, I was out for a walk. I’d woken up late today and had walked five kilometers, half of what I walked daily.
There was rush hour everywhere. People running around across the bridge I stood. The traffic at the railway crossing had stopped. The bar with a ‘STOP’ sign was laid horizontal so that no traffic would pass. And a warning sound was heard in an alternating frequency. But there was an endless queue of vehicles on both sides of the railway crossing.
I looked at my watch. It struck seventeen minutes past nine. Suddenly, I glimpsed something moving fast on the eastern STOP signal.
A truck with heavy load rushed down the railway crossing careless on it’s way. Too late to watch the STOP bar laid down, it broke through, skid along and toppled over a fast lane track on it’s side. One of it’s wheel remained spinning.
I stood on the eastern end of the foot-over-bridge at the southern exit of the railway platform, watching in shock. A south bound slow train had made it’s halt besides the second platform, packed with morning rushhour crowd. An average of fifteen hundred passengers would travel in a single train daily during rush hour.
A north bound train on the fast lane approached at full speed. It didn’t get enough time to know what had happened. It crashed into the truck and derailed. A screeching sound was followed after a loud boom. Some of the coaches slammed into the concrete pillars of the pedestrian walkway built above the railway crossing. A few coaches crashed into the front of the halted train. And some tilted and crashed, creating a mix of steel and iron along the fast lanes in between two platforms. The walkway shook for a few seconds and lost it’s balance. It collapsed over the railway crossing.
No sooner had the derailed train stopped, the first coach of the train halted on the platform exploded. A chain of explosions followed with the rest of the coaches. Everyone inside the train burst into smithereens on the spot, as blasts were intense from the exploding diesel fuel lying underneath. Most passengers which stood standing on both the slow lane platforms were charred to death, due to the blast wave sent straight onto them. Few of them managed to prone on the platform floor.
A south bound fast train approached along the fast lane. The driver had hit the train breaks as soon as he had seen the explosion. But luck wasn’t with him and the passengers as well. It crashed with speed into the metallic debris, only to create another explosion. It’s first coach caught fire as soon as it slammed into the metal, but still went on coming close towards the southern end, towards the bridge where I stood now.
People ran for their lives. Some fell due to panic and came under feet of other people, unable to get up. It had created chaos everywhere. Most of the people would’ve had gone into shock as the pedestrian walkway fell in front of their eyes. I remained still and tried best not to get between people running everywhere.
By the time the train reached the end of the station, it had already derailed, making it’s way above the layer of compressed iron and steel. It hit the bridge with almost half it’s original speed, sending a shock. I was fortunate to have held on to an iron rod. But it was still a disaster. Almost the entire middle section fell to the ground. People were caught and fell with it. The area where I stood did not hold, but I was left hanging on the rod. I grabbed myself up and made my way to a safe distance. When I glanced back to know what had happened, it was an unbelievable sight. The south bound fast train had derailed. Half of it was compressed into a huge metal block with iron rods pierced out like thorns on cacti.
It felt like hours. But when I looked at my watch, only a minute had passed by. It was eighteen minutes past nine. Whatever happened during the last minute had shook the life out of me, and surely everyone else as well. The world would see it as a tragedy, but fear would live through the hearts of those who lived to see it in front of their eyes.
Inspired from ReadWave’s Challenge – A lot can happen in a minute.