A monthly inspection by maintenance staff failed to detect a track fissure that led to the derailment of the Gandhidham-Bengaluru Express near Dombivli on Wednesday.
There was no casualty because the train was not travelling at high speed when the accident occurred. Four passengers were injured, none of them seriously.
A few weeks ago, the Central Railway (CR), as part of monthly maintenance, had conducted an Ultrasonic Flaw Detector (USFD) inspection, which did not spot any problem on this track. A USFD bounces sonar waves off a track, and detects fissures by catching differences in the wavelengths reflected back.
It can reportedly fail to catch a fracture if the sonar wave falls parallel to the fracture’s location. “There is a schedule for monthly inspection of tracks. We will verify this aspect in our inquiry,” said CR’s chief PRO, S. Mudgerikar. As of now, CR says contraction and expansion of tracks due to climatic change turned the crack into a fracture.
CR will now conduct an enquiry into the cause of the derailment, which occurred at 12.35 am on November 4. The engine and first six coaches passed over the tracks, while coaches 7 to 18 derailed.
Jaikishan Roida (44) and Prabhaben Patel (38), suffered minor injuries. “They were given first aid and Rs 500 each as compensation. Services will be restored by Thursday morning,” said a CR spokesperson.
A CR team arrived at the scene, rescued passengers, gave them first-aid and tea and biscuits. By 3.30 am, a 22-coach train was sent from CST. Breakdown trains from Kalyan, Kurla and Udhna completed the rescue. The 1,300 passengers boarded the new train, which left for Bengaluru at 5.15 a.m.
Dombivili resident Prashant Redij sent an SMS to the railways on 9004411111 at around 11.18 p.m. on Tuesday, warning them of the track. “Had the railways acted on my message, the accident could’ve been averted,” said Redij.
“Our SMS feedback team saw the message in the morning. This number is for complaints regarding unhygienic trains or defunct fans or lights. We have a 24-hour helpline (022-22620800) for such information,” said another CR spokesperson.