Odisha train accident: Probe suggests ill-fated Coromandel Express entered loop line instead of main line

yard layout
Image source: India TV yard layout

Preliminary investigation has revealed that the Coromandel Express train involved in Friday’s gruesome train accident in Odisha entered the loop line and collided with a goods train standing there instead of the main line just ahead of Bahanagar Bazar station. The coaches of the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express overturned after colliding with the coaches of the Coromandel Express, which were scattered on the adjacent track.

The Coromandel Express was running at 128 kmph, while the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express was running at 116 kmph. According to sources in the news agency PTI, the report has been submitted to the Railway Board. Loop lines of the Indian Railways are built in a station area – in this case, Bahanagar Bazar station – to accommodate more trains to ease operations. Loop lines are typically 750 meters long to accommodate full length freight trains with multiple engines.

There were about two thousand passengers in both the trains. At least 261 people have died in this accident and around 1,000 people have been injured.

Initially, reports claimed that the Coromandel Express collided with a goods train

Anubhav Das, an eyewitness to the incident, also pointed out that local officials and railway officials had initially indicated that the train he was traveling in – the Coromandel Express – rammed into a goods train. However, none of these accounts was officially confirmed by the Railways. While a thorough investigation is underway, so far no official has spoken about any possibility of sabotage.

Officials said the national transporter has launched a high-level inquiry into the train accident in Odisha’s Balasore, which will be headed by Commissioner of Railway Safety, South Eastern Circle. The Commissioner of Railway Safety works under the Ministry of Civil Aviation and investigates all such accidents. An Indian Railways spokesperson said, “AM Chowdhary, CRS, SE Circle, will conduct an inquiry into the accident.” The national transporter has also stated that the anti-train collision system “Kavach” was not available on the route.

No anti-collision system: Official

The accident involved the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and a goods train. Indian Railways spokesperson Amitabh Sharma said, “The rescue operation has been completed. Now, we are starting the restoration work. Kavach was not available on this route.” Railways is in the process of installing “Kavach”, an anti-train collision system, across its entire network.

Kavach alerts when a loco pilot jumps a signal (Signal Passed at Danger – SPAD), which is a major cause of train collisions. The system can alert the loco pilot, control the brakes, and automatically stop a train when it notices another train on the same line within a specified distance.

Still not clear what leads to disaster

While sources had earlier said that signaling failure could be the reason behind the accident, railway officials said it was not yet clear whether the Coromandel Express entered the loop line and hit the stationary goods train or it first derailed. got off and then collided with a stationary train after entering the park. loop line. The preliminary inquiry report states that while signal for train number 12841 was given and released for Up main line, the train entered the loop line, collided with a goods train and derailed. Meanwhile, train number 12864 passed through the down main line and two of its coaches derailed and overturned, reports said.

Sudhanshu Mani, former general manager of Integral Coach Factory, Chennai and the man who led the team that built the first Vande Bharat train, prima facie denied any lapse on the part of the two loco pilots involved in the tragedy and said the primary reason behind the massive accident was The reason was the first derailment and the unfortunate timing of the second passenger train, which came at a very high speed from the other direction.

Driver’s overriding signal unlikely to be reported

Mani said that if this was the first train to derail, the LHB coaches would not have overturned and so many casualties would not have been reported. “While the reason for the derailment of the first train may not be a matter of conjecture, as of now, I do not see any evidence of a SPAD case, which means the driver is overriding the signal. I was on the right track. Shows that the signal was green,” Mani said.

In February, after a head-on collision between two goods trains in Uttar Pradesh, the Railways launched a month-long safety drive to prevent accidents such as derailment and overshooting of signals by loco pilots. Under the campaign, senior officers of Railway Board, Zonal Railways and Divisions were instructed to visit various sections, crew lobbies, maintenance centres, work sites etc. In-depth review”. Prescribed operating and maintenance methods to prevent accidents or abnormal events.

Former Member Traffic, Railway Board, Mr. Prakash also said that at such a high speed, the driver of the other train could have done little to limit the damage. “It basically depends on how much time the driver has to apply brakes and stop the train and the speed of the train. Passenger train derailment is rare, while it is most common in case of freight trains. Is.” What the investigators find as to the cause of the derailment will be important.”

Also read: Odisha train accident: PM of Pakistan, world leaders including Putin expressed grief over Indian train accident

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