Railway officials probing into the twin train accident near Harda are surprised that the Bhopal rail division's control room, which was allowing trains to move on 'caution mode' till two hours before the accident, took off the mode even as rain continued and water around the railway track was swelling.
When trains are run on caution their speed remains between 10 to 20 km/hr, while the normal speed of express trains on Itarsi-Mumbai route is between 80 to 100 km/hr.
Railway officials therefore, believe that taking off the 'caution mode' despite deteriorating flood situation in the area could be majorly responsible for the accident.
Sources said that Commissioner Railway Safety (CRS) of South Central Circle, DK Singh, who is leading the probe, has obtained audio recording of conversations over wireless between railway officials of control room and those deployed in the rail section where accident occurred.
Audio recording, sources say, has suggested that the trains were being run on caution mode before two hours of the accident but was taken off by the control room, despite some railway officials deployed in that particular sections reporting the control room that the weather was deteriorating. Only one express train- Pawan Express-could pass through after the 'caution mode' was taken off, sources added.
Singh has also recorded the statement of all officials of control room on duty, and also those deployed in Bhirangi and Khirkiya rail section. Sources said that drivers of both the Kamayani Express and the Janta Express have told the CRS that they didn't receive any caution from control room.
When contacted, CRS DK Singh said, "I am going through all the aspects and would submit the report within a week."
Nearly 30 people died and 16 went missing when the Kamayani Express and the Janta Express derailed within minutes of each other crossing a small bridge between Khirakia and Bhirangi railway stations on August 4. The Kamayani Express was headed to Varanasi from Mumbai, while the Janta Express was en route to Mumbai from Patna.
Railway officials believe that taking off the 'caution mode' despite deteriorating flood situation in the area could be majorly responsible for the accident.