The Bihar train accident of June 6, 1981, left an indelible mark on the history of India, forever etching a tragic incident in the collective memory of the nation. On that fateful day, a passenger train carrying over 800 individuals met with disaster as it derailed and plunged into the treacherous waters of the Bagmati River while crossing a bridge. The aftermath of the accident was marred by unimaginable loss, with conflicting reports estimating the death toll to be anywhere between 500 to 800 or even more.

The exact cause of the Bihar train accident remains a subject of debate and speculation. Various theories have emerged, including the impact of a cyclone, flash flooding, or brake failure. However, due to the lack of comprehensive documentation, the truth behind this tragic event remains elusive.

File photo provided by Lallan Top.

The Journey Turns Deadly

On that fateful day in 1981, a routine train journey from Mansi to Saharsa turned into a harrowing nightmare. As the passenger train traversed a bridge, tragedy struck with unparalleled force. Seven out of the nine coaches veered off the tracks, hurtling into the tumultuous waters of the Baghmati River below. The chaos and confusion that ensued were unimaginable. The exact cause of the derailment remains a subject of speculation and uncertainty, shrouding the incident in a cloud of mystery. Some reports suggest that the train’s engineer applied the brakes abruptly to avoid colliding with a wandering cow on the tracks.

Others attribute the disaster to the slippery conditions brought about by torrential rains during the cyclone. Regardless of the cause, the consequences were devastating. The tragic day claimed lives, tore apart families, and left the community grappling with haunting memories. The journey, intended to connect destinations, transformed into a deadly event that indelibly marked Bihar’s history.

Also, Read – Reason Behind Train Accident In Odisha

The Elusive Truth

One prevalent theory suggests that a cyclone played a significant role in the derailment. The ferocious winds and torrential rains associated with cyclones can wreak havoc on infrastructure, weakening tracks and making them susceptible to accidents. However, without concrete evidence to substantiate this claim, the truth remains shrouded. Another hypothesis points to flash flooding as a contributing factor. Bihar’s monsoon season is notorious for heavy rains and the potential for flash floods that can compromise transportation systems. Slippery tracks, caused by the downpour, could have played a role in the train’s derailment. Yet, due to the limited documentation available, it remains challenging to definitively establish this as the truth.

The Bihar train accident of 1981 serves as a sobering reminder that some truths may forever remain elusive. As time passes, the chances of uncovering the precise cause diminish. Nevertheless, this tragic event reminds us of the importance of comprehensive documentation and investigation to bring clarity to such incidents, fostering a safer future for railway transportation systems.

Nature’s Fury Unleashed

One prevailing theory suggests that the heavy monsoon rains, synonymous with Bihar, played a significant role in the derailment. These torrential downpours can transform the landscape, turning tranquil rivers into raging torrents and rendering tracks slippery and treacherous. The deluge may have compromised the stability of the train’s path, contributing to its derailment and subsequent plunge into the Bagmati River. Nature’s fury was further unleashed by the unpredictable occurrence of flash flooding. Bihar is no stranger to these rapid and devastating floods that can occur with little warning. The sudden surge of water can undermine the integrity of infrastructure, including railway tracks. In the chaos and confusion of such a natural disaster, it becomes increasingly difficult to ascertain the precise chain of events leading to the tragic accident.

The Bihar train accident of 1981 serves as a solemn reminder of the power and unpredictability of nature. It underscores the need for robust disaster preparedness and infrastructure maintenance to mitigate the devastating impact of such calamities. Though the exact role of nature’s fury in this tragedy remains uncertain, its influence cannot be denied, leaving an indelible mark on the annals of Bihar’s history.

Unraveling Mechanical Failures

According to some reports, the train’s engineer abruptly applied the brakes in a desperate attempt to avoid colliding with a cow on the tracks. This sudden maneuver, combined with the adverse weather conditions prevailing at the time, could have overwhelmed the braking system, compromising the train’s stability and leading to its derailment. However, due to the limited documentation available, it remains challenging to definitively attribute the accident solely to mechanical failures. Without comprehensive records and expert analysis, we can only speculate on the extent to which mechanical issues contributed to this devastating incident.

Nonetheless, the Bihar train accident of 1981 serves as a stark reminder of the critical importance of regular maintenance, thorough inspections, and adherence to safety protocols in the railway industry. By learning from past tragedies and prioritizing the detection and prevention of mechanical failures, we can strive to create safer transportation systems for all passengers.

An Unforgettable Tragedy

The magnitude of the Bihar train accident served as a wake-up call, sparking discussions and debates on railway safety and disaster management. It highlighted the critical need for stringent safety protocols, meticulous maintenance of infrastructure, and improved emergency response capabilities. The loss of lives and the grief experienced by the survivors and the families of the victims serve as a solemn reminder of the importance of prioritizing passenger safety. The Bihar train accident of 1981 remains a haunting reminder of the consequences of overlooking safety measures within the transportation industry.

As we remember this unforgettable tragedy, let us honor the memories of those lost by striving to prevent similar incidents, fostering a culture of safety, and ensuring that no lives are lost needlessly in the pursuit of travel and transportation.


In conclusion, the Bihar train accident of 1981 stands as a tragic event that continues to evoke sorrow and reflection. The exact cause of the derailment and subsequent plunge into the Bagmati River remains elusive, with multiple theories and limited documentation clouding the truth. Whether it was the impact of a cyclone, flash flooding, mechanical failures, or a combination of factors, the consequences were devastating. This unforgettable tragedy serves as a stark reminder of the need for comprehensive safety measures, diligent maintenance, and robust disaster management protocols in the railway industry. It compels us to prioritize the well-being and safety of passengers above all else.

As we reflect on the Bihar train accident, we are reminded of the importance of learning from such incidents to prevent future tragedies. By studying the circumstances surrounding this event, we can identify areas for improvement and implement measures to enhance railway safety.

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