The Birbhum train accident in the early hours of Monday could have been avoided if the track along which the Vananchal Express entered the station had been unhinged from the main lines, making any other entry impossible.
The process is called creating an “isolation point”, and is mandatory.
It was the job of the Sainthia station personnel to put in place the “isolation point” to insulate the platform from any intrusion from behind, said loco-pilots and assistant loco-pilots of the Eastern Railways.
“The isolation of tracks is mandatory when any train — be it a mail train, passenger or goods train — enters a station,” a train guard said.
Pilots and guards at Sealdah station (in Kolkata) were unanimous that if the isolation point had been created, the Uttarbanga Express, which hit the Vananchal Express from behind, would have been automatically diverted to another track.
“Even if the second train was travelling at 90 kmph, as has been alleged, at most it would have been derailed by taking a different track at the isolation point. In that case, the passengers would have escaped with minor injuries,” said Shymal Kumar Mukherjee, a guard of the Sealdah division.