Munnuswamy, a labourer from Jolarpet in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore district, breathed heavily against the tight bandage across his face, trying to figure out where he was.
“I did not know what had happened to me. I could vaguely remember hearing a loud noise and being thrown off my seat,” he said. “Then I opened my eyes to find myself in this hospital bed.”
Doctors at the general hospital in Arakkonam, around 85 km from Chennai, told him he was brought there by villagers who had rescued him after a speeding Chennai Beach-Vellore Cantonment train rammed into the Arakkonam-Katpadi passenger train at Chitteri station on Tuesday night.When railways minister Dinesh Trivedi reached Chitteri on Wednesday afternoon all that remained of the accident that killed 10 people, were a couple of mangled bogies.
Trivedi said the driver had oversped and caused the accident. “It is premature to talk about the reasons behind the accident before an expert committee probes the incident.”
Preliminary investigations have revealed that MEMU driver Raj Kumar, who was already two hours behind schedule, had just left Arakkonam station and was driving at 80 kmph and could not stop in time when he spotted the other train.
The rail safety manual pegs the permissible speed limit of MEMU trains on a normal day at 70 kmph. Railway officials said when the cautionary signal is on — as it was on Tuesday — the speed limit is 50 kmph.
“Our signal records show that the MEMU had jumped two signals before Arakkonam and was going to do the same at Chitteri. An investigation by the safety commission will confirm this,” said Deepak Krishnan, southern railway general manager, said.
Kumar, 40, jumped out of the train seconds before the crash. He is recovering at the Government General Hospital in Chennai and is not in a condition to talk. See video