A day after Sunday’s accident on the Konkan rail route, the Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) has decided to inspect mountain areas along the 200km of tracks for quarries and mines that pose danger to trains.
Sixteen passengers on Karmali-Dadar Janshatabdi Express were injured when a privately-owned JCB (earth excavator) fell between Sindhudurg and Kankavali stations. Three passengers are in critical condition.
The JCB, being used at a private stone quarry on Kaswan hill adjacent to the tracks, rolled down to the track. The Dadar-bound train crashed into the bucket of the JCB, which was lying on the track. Three coaches of the train were ripped apart, injuring the passengers.
The incident occurred at 4.25pm on Sunday and the track was cleared by 5.15pm, said a KRCL official.
“The railway ministry has ordered a Commissioner Railway Safety (CRS) inquiry into the accident,” said Bhanu Prakash Tayal, managing director of KRCL.
The railway tracks of KRCL cover 741kms, of which, 200 kms cut through mountains. There are some functional quarries and mines around the track. The entire section of Konkan railway tracks was laid by building tunnels, road over-bridges and cutting through the mountains.
“We have directed our officials to inspect the areas which have been cut to lay track and prepare a list of quarries and mines in the nearby areas which could pose a danger to the railway operations,” said Tayal.
The list will be ready in three days and submitted to CRS and state government to implement suggestions on preventive measures. “Whatever instructions are issued by the CRS, it will be taken up with the state government and followed,” added Tayal.
The operation of quarry and mines is licensed by the state government and any decision to alter its operation is taken by the state, said a senior railway official, requesting anonymity.