The Commissioner of Railway Safety will begin probe on what caused the collision on Thursday. Meanwhile, there were speculations on the possible reasons and all pointed to human error and not to any fault in the machines.
Northern Railways admitted as much officially by suspending the engine crew of the colliding Padmawat Express by evening.
“Three officials comprising the crew were found guilty of dereliction of duty. Specifically it means the train was overspeeding by a significant margin but we can be sure only after the inquiry,” said Rajiv Saxena, Northern Railways spokesman.
Railway traffic officials said a goods train, which caused a pile-up on the signal that led to the whole accident was the culprit. “It is not clear why the goods train was halted because it had been given the go-ahead. Kalindi Express was right behind it and it was running behind schedule, so the line had to be clear,” said a senior railway official.
While the stretch, which is full of signals and station halts, is not generally used for speeding, the suspension of the engine confirmed the suspicion. “In an internal meeting in the evening, it was found that Padmawat was running at 38-40 km per hour, much more than its required speed at that stretch,” said an official.
Officials with technical knowledge ruled out failure in the automatic signalling system. “The system was designed to stop trains and not give them the go-ahead,” said the official. Which means, in case of malfunctioning, signal systems are programmed to turn red and not green.