The Railway Men Season 1 Ending Explained – Does Iftekaar survive?

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: November 18, 2023 (Last updated: November 20, 2023)
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The Railway Men Season 1 Ending
The Railway Men | Image via Netflix


An intense and powerful finale gives each of the main characters a moving payoff for their heroic actions, while real justice remains predictably elusive.

The Bhopal Gas Tragedy is known as the worst industrial disaster in history. A leak at the Union Carbide India Limited factory in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, pumped forty tonnes of methyl isocyanate (MIC) into the air, killing tens of thousands, injuring hundreds of thousands, and having deeply felt knock-on effects to this day. The Railway Men, a Netflix series focusing on the heroic actions of railway employees and a bandit during the disaster, builds to an ending that reiterates the scale and severity of the disaster and highlights how, in the face of the worst possible circumstances, brave men and women showcase the very best of what we can be.

The four titular railway men are Iftekaar Siddiqui, an honest government employee haunted by his failure to protect a young boy in a train accident a decade prior, Imad Riaz, a former truck driver at the Union Carbide factory well aware of the risks and lack of safety precautions, Balwant Yadav, the “Express Bandit” who has been robbing trains for thirteen years, and Rati Pandey, the General Manager of Central Railways. All four go above and beyond during the disaster and meet their fates, which we’ll explore along with other details in this article.

Does Iftekaar survive?

When the Gorakhpur-Bombay Express arrives at Bhopal Junction, Iftekaar and Balwant work to help the city’s people get aboard the train while keeping the current passengers aboard without disembarking on the platform. The air is highly toxic and the intention is to use the railway network as a means of safety.

Naturally, this isn’t a polite and organized process, and Iftekaar is knocked out in the stampede. He remains unconscious until the next day when he awakes suddenly on the cusp of his cremation. So, yes, Iftekaar does survive.

Why does Balwant return the money?

While Iftekaar is unconscious, Balwant steals the key to the safe in the station master’s office, the contents of which he had been planning to pilfer the entire time. However, before Balwant leaves Bhopal on a different train, he overhears the police theorizing that Iftekaar must have stolen the money. Unwilling to let him take the blame, Balwant returns all the cash to the safe.

The two men reunite a year after the tragedy, with Iftekaar letting Balwant know he had figured out he was the Express Bandit, and Balwant revealing that he has changed his ways since then.

How does Imad Riaz die?

Imad Riaz heroically dies after saving many lives by diverting the tracks to prevent a head-on collision between two trains – one of them the GM special train that Rati Pandey was arriving at Bhopal on. Imad badly injures his head after falling on some rocks but uses his final reserves of strength to divert the tracks.

Thanks to this, Rati and a group of workers can disseminate first aid and supplies around Bhopal, helping to bring the crisis under some measure of control.

Does Union Carbide face any justice?

As is invariably the case, the real perpetrators manage to escape without any consequence. UCC chairman Warren Anderson leaves India for the U.S., making his extradition impossible.

The corporate angle is primarily explored through a local journalist named Jagmohan Kumawat, who is based on the very real Rajkumar Keswani. He was preparing an article about the negligence of the Union Carbide factory, and Kumawat’s plot throughout the series follows his efforts to expose the same by acquiring a report that pointed out the safety oversights. However, when he is finally able to acquire it, he is informed that an addendum noting that the issues had been rectified means it is inadmissible in court as evidence against Union Carbide.

What did you think of The Railway Men Season 1 Episode 4 and the ending? Let us know in the comments below.

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