Railways blame human error for mishap, say probe on

  • PTI, Kolkata
  • |
  • Updated: Jul 19, 2010 20:44 IST

Terming the action of drivers as "unusual" in today's rail accident at Sainthia in Birbhum district, the Railways said the drivers neither applied emergency brakes nor made any attempt to stop the train to avert the collision.

"This is very unusual. There was something wrong with loco pilots (of Uttarbanga Express)," Chairman Railway Board Vivek Sahai told reporters here after visiting the accident site.

"The brakes were not applied at all not even the emergency brakes though the train was running at a high speed. They (driver and co-driver) did not even try to jump out and were found occupying their seats," he said apparently indicating something amiss in the accident.

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He said the signal was red and it was verified by Member (Electrical), Railway Board, during his spot visit to Sainthia station.

However, Sahai said the main driver was an experienced staff belonging to 'A' category, a post held by only 15 to 20 per cent of all drivers in Indian railways.

Over 60 people were killed in early hours today when the Sealdah bound Uttarbanga Express rammed Vananchal Express from behind at Sainthia station.

The Commissioner Railway Safety, Eastern Zone, is probing the accident.

Asked if the accident would have been avoided had there been an anti-collision device (ACD), Sahai said the technology is still being tested as the Railways was not sure about its efficacy in sections with multiple tracks.

However, he said, "The railways are not abandoning the idea of implementing the device even if they are costly.

"We have already sanctioned their installation in Southern, South-Western and South Central Railway," he said.

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